China will provide 10 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to Kenya to help the country fight the pandemic, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his African tour on Thursday.
In addition, both countries signed six agreements as part of a memorandum of understanding to carry out cooperation plans that China announced during the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Senegal in November.
Speaking at the coastal city of Mombasa, Wang said Kenya is a strategic partner for China not just in East Africa, but also Africa as a whole as it is a key pillar in carrying out the Belt and Road Initiative on the continent.
"During our discussions, we addressed four key areas of partnerships between our two countries. These are: mutual support for sovereignty, cooperation in realizing modernization and industrialization, and solidarity in alleviating poverty as we strive for a shared future and partnership for peace in the region and globally," Wang said.
He also reiterated the importance of China-Africa relations by pointing out that his visit is part of a 32-year-old tradition by Chinese foreign ministers in making Africa the first stop in their overseas visits each year.
Raychelle Omamo, Kenya's cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, said the six agreements signed by the two countries include cooperation in the health sector, in which China promised to help Kenya improve its capacity to manufacture vaccines locally, in addition to providing cold storage facilities for vaccines. She added that China will also donate 12,000 metric tons of rice in aid to families affected by the pandemic.
"We also signed agreements to collaborate in trade, increase foreign direct investment by China in Kenya, expand our digital collaboration and join hands in promoting peace and security in Africa and globally," Omamo said.
On his wider goal for Africa, Wang said he aims to ensure Africa and China achieve three major goals this year as they work together to meet the aspirations of the FOCAC.
"First, we plan to stand together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with new variants like Omicron arising. We also intend to uphold common interests in politics and carry out multilateral coordination in international relations at the United Nations in fighting for the rights of developing countries," Wang said.
"The six agreements signed between Kenya and China today are specifically geared toward this end," he added, emphasizing that China is intent on helping Africa out of poverty.
Kenya is the second of three stops on Wang's African tour, after Eritrea and before Comoros. China is constructing a new $353 million terminal at the port to allow larger oil tankers to berth.