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Chinese investors expand relief programs in Kenya  

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Chinese investors on Tuesday announced plans to expand humanitarian assistance and community outreach programs in Kenya to help fight poverty, officials said on Tuesday.

Zhao Jian, secretary-general of Kenya Overseas Chinese Association that comprises top Chinese companies and residents in Kenya, said after nearly 14 years of reacting to humanitarian needs and disasters in the country, the association has created an internal institution to aid the coordination of humanitarian work.

“We have formed this internal institution because we want to be able to respond to the issue of poverty in a different way. We want to do it more regularly. We will not wait until we have another disaster to respond to humanitarian needs,” Zhao told Xinhua.

Speaking during a ceremony to distribute food items to dozens of Kenyan employees working for Chinese companies registered to operate in Kenya, Zhao said promoting cultural exchanges between Kenya and China was among its key priorities.

The internal humanitarian response mechanism would respond to community needs in order to reach a wide cross-section of the Kenyan society.

Zhao said the formation of the internal humanitarian response mechanism within the Kenya Overseas Chinese Association would coincide with the celebrations to mark 55 years of the Kenya-China diplomatic relations.

Zhao said measures to respond to poverty would focus on building nursing homes, orphanages and assistance to prisoners.

He said the poverty response initiatives would also focus on diverse issues affecting the Kenyan society, including enhancing community access to prevention of malaria.

“We would like to be involved in the distribution of clothes to communities impacted negatively with cold weather and flooding by providing them with warm clothes,” Zhao told Xinhua.

He said the humanitarian response initiatives would also expand to other towns in Kenya, including areas around Lake Victoria region, including Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, which reports regular outbreaks of malaria.

“I have talked to the board members of the association. We have to approve projects we intend to undertake. However, we intend to visit people living in malaria-prone zones to provide them with protection and prevention materials so they are able to prevent the death of young children. It would be a self-motivated initiative by the Chinese companies,” Zhao said.

The association was established in 2005 to promote the exchange of information and culture between Kenyan and Chinese nationals.

Since its establishment, the association has helped to mobilize resources for humanitarian assistance and community outreach projects in Kenya.

The most notable involvement of the association was in 2011, when it mobilized 25 million shillings (about 250,000 U.S. dollars) to assist victims of drought and hunger in Kenya’s Turkana region.

The funds were handed over to the Kenya Red Cross to assist in the drilling of boreholes to avail water to the community, Zhao said.

In 2015, the association also worked with other organizations to provide a donation of 64,094 dollars to the Moi University, which took most of the students whose studies were interrupted by the Garissa University terror attack on April 2, 2015.

Zhao said efforts to respond to humanitarian needs have mostly focused on assisting communities caught up in poverty.

“Kenya as a country remains peaceful but there are poverty incidences which we intend to deal with,” Zhao said.

He said since 2012, the association has also been cooperating with the disability centre in Nairobi to provide them assistance.



Nairobi pledges to assist Chinese investors to set up base in Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday pledged to assist Chinese investors from China’s Zhejiang Province to set up base in the country.

Betty Maina, principal secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said at a trade forum here that Kenya has identified Chinese investors as key partners in the country’s journey to achieve economic development.

“The Kenya government commits to support investors from China’s Zhejiang Province to establish their investments in Kenya,” Maina said during the China’s Zhejiang-Kenya trade and investment symposium that brought together the private sectors of Zhejiang Province and Kenya.

A delegation of over 50 Chinese firms from Zhejiang Province are in Kenya to scout for investment and trade deals in the area of food processing, textiles and clothing, leather sector, construction, automobile, electrical and shipping industry.

Maina said that the China-Kenya relationship spans 55 years and the Zhejiang-Kenya trade forum is important as it brings together the private sector of the two countries in an arrangement of signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

She said that Chinese investors could play an instrumental role in implementing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing and hence provide a win-win arrangement within the Belt and Road Initiative.

Maina said that the business forum is intended to begin a new and long relationship and partnership between China’s Zhejiang Province and Kenya.

She observed that Kenya has one of the best investment destinations given its expansive market access.

She noted that Kenya has preferential market access at the East Africa Community (EAC), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the United States as well as the European Union which Chinese investors can sell to after setting up factories in Kenya.

She added that the Kenyan government considers the private sector as the engine of economic growth with the role of government to facilitate the growth of the private sector.

Wang Xuezheng, counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that Beijing and Nairobi have enjoyed excellent relations which has laid a strong foundation for growing cooperation in bilateral trade and investment.

Anne Kirima, chairperson of Kenya Investment Authority said that Kenya considers the China-Kenya relations as very important and it is for this reason that this year alone Kenyatta traveled to China twice during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Kirima said that in both occasions Kenya’s president held talks with the president of China in further strengthening the cooperation.

She added that currently, China is Kenya’s largest trading partner and the largest official development assistance (ODA) donor.

According to Kirima, China is also the largest contractor having contributed significantly to the current improved infrastructure that has gone a long way in enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector.

Kirima urged Chinese investors to transfer their knowledge and technology to Kenyan firms so that Kenya can improve the competitiveness of its industrial sector.


African mobile phone market declines 2.1 pct as shipments fall in Q3

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Mobile phone market in Africa declined 2.1 percent to 52.6 million units with falling shipments quarter-on-quarter, a report by International Data Corporation (IDC) shows.

Feature phone shipments fell 2.7 percent quarter-on-quarter and smartphone shipments declined 1.3 percent over the same period, says the report.

According to the report, Transsion brands (Tecno, Infinix, and Itel) led the feature phone space in Q3, with a combined unit share of 58.2 percent while Nokia was next in line with 11.7 percent share.

Transsion, Samsung, and Huawei dominated the smartphone space with respective unit shares of 34.9 percent, 21.7 percent, and 10.2 percent, says the report.

According to the report, while feature phones remain steadfastly popular across Africa, particularly in more rural areas, consumers are increasingly being attracted by smartphone offerings from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei, which are actively targeting feature-oriented customers at more economical price points.

IDC expects Africa’s overall mobile phone market to reach 58 million units in Q4 2018, spurred by the festive season and online consumer events such as Black Friday.

It said the introduction of more affordable smartphones in the African market will help drive progress in this space over the coming quarters, while the share of feature phones will decline steadily as the transition to smartphones gathers momentum.

However, in value terms, Samsung led the smartphone market with 37.2 percent share, followed by Transsion (21.0 percent) and Huawei (13.0 percent).

The study says there were differing fortunes in the region’s three major markets, with Nigeria suffering a heavy 11.6 percent QoQ decline in mobile phone shipments, while South Africa and Kenya saw respective QoQ growth of 8.5 percent and 7.9 percent in Q3.

“The decline in Nigeria stemmed from a slowdown in government spending, ongoing warfare in the country’s northern states, and market uncertainty in the lead up to elections,” said George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC.

“In South Africa, the market’s growth was spurred by the penetration of low-end devices from brands such as Mobicel, Mint, and Nokia”, said Mbuthia.

The analyst said the launch of entry-level smartphones helped drive growth in Kenya despite increases in taxes and fuel prices placing a significant burden on disposable income in the country.


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