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We told you! We can now agree that the government’s devotion to a ‘Look East’ policy has paid off big time.
We told you! We can now agree that the government’s devotion to a ‘Look East’ policy has paid off big time.

This campaign has utilised all of Jubilee’s best qualities: visionary governance, pragmatic diplomacy and the deployment of policies underpinned by a transformative philosophy.

By the conclusion of the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s State visit, the government had entered an unprecedented 17 bilateral deals, covering four key sectors, and worth over Sh500 billion.

In the event, Kenya virtually became the headquarters of China in Africa.

Coupled with the scramble by other global players to leverage Kenya’s strategic position, it is no longer a matter of debate that we are an important player in our region, continent and the world.

This spectacular coup was not fortuitous in any way. No global power goes around throwing about money like confetti just for the heck of it. Money represents value.

This investment, besides indicating the focus and industry expended politically and diplomatically, gives an accurate assessment of Kenya’s stature and clout.

We have been underestimated too much for too long.


Anyone saying that Kenya should continue to play in the Peanut League is clearly in urgent need of lessons in intellectual honesty. Similarly, anyone suggesting that we must yoke our policies and plans to the vagaries of ideology and post-colonial dynamics truly detests progress.

To illustrate the magnitude of the transformative impact of the Look East policy, consider the Standard Gauge Railway deal. Oh yes! The SGR is a reality now, whose construction is set to commence on October 1 this year, and in a short 42 months, will have reached the Embakasi Internal Container Depot.

READ: Kenya, China sign standard gauge railway agreement

READ: China rewards Kenya’s friendship with billions

The trains running on this railway will carry cargo at 80kph, and passengers at 120kph.

This means that a businessman will have his breakfast in Nairobi and be at the Port of Mombasa in four hours to load cargo onto a train, then be on hand to take delivery in Nairobi that same evening.

Ask your local business person what that means. Aside from the obvious economic acceleration, governance and national cohesion will benefit a great deal.

This project will come with 56 locomotives, 1,620 freight wagons and 40 passenger coaches. It will haul two containers, one atop the other at great speed across the country.

The railway will open up the country and the region, create 60 jobs per kilometre, reduce the cost of goods and services by over 60 per cent, and radically transform the port of Mombasa.


In short, it is a classic Jubilee sort of deal. What gives us all hope, is that it will come from China.

Without denying or belittling the contribution of any bilateral partner, China happens to have a spectacularly impressive implementation CV in Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world.

Our partnerships have traditionally culminated in grand and magnificent public utilities: the Kasarani Stadium, hospitals, roads and more roads throughout the country fall among 80 projects at various stages of execution. Many ‘donors’ invest in invisible programmes and soft projects that come at high cost and give debatable value back.

READ: Chinese airline to pen deal with Kenyan firm for EA market

The noise makers, naysayers and prophets of doom must not stop talking. We want to hear what they will say next. It will be interesting to see their next intellectual contortions as they rail against reality.

The SGR is now an inescapable reality. A gigantic, stubborn, unflinching fact staring all doubters in the face. Many critics have asked this one question using different words and languages: what is it with Africa and China?

Our response like all excellent answers, is breathtakingly succint: More Business, Less Ideology.