President Uhuru Kenyatta urged African countries to focus on building synergies and complementarities between infrastructure and industrial development in order to achieve the full benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

For this to happen, the Kenyan leader called for greater participation of the private sector as a key driver of industrial transformation that leads to the generation of jobs, creation of growth and prosperity.

He made the remarks when he attended the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) at the China National Convention Centre in central Beijing where he addressed a High-Level Session attended by his host, President Xi Jinping.

Kenyatta thanked China for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects which he said are expanding economic activities and unlocking potential for prosperity in many developing countries including Kenya.

“Since inception, the Belt and Road Initiative has forged cooperation in the development of critical sectors including expansion of infrastructure, education and capacity building, trade facilitation and investment, agricultural modernisation, industrial promotion and energy connectivity,” Kenyatta said.

“Collectively, these developments are expanding economic activities and unlocking potential for prosperity,” Kenyatta told world leaders.

Kenyatta said his country is proud to be a founding and active member of the BRI adding that Kenya shares a common vision with China for the development and transformation of the country and the entire East African region.

“We are a gateway to the African segment of the Golden Belt of the BRI that stretches from the Port of Mombasa to Kisumu on Lake Victoria and the East African hinterland, to the port of Kinshasa. In addition, is the corridor stretching from Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia-the LAPSSET corridor that connects the Great North Corridor to northern Africa,” Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya is proactively playing its part in the delivery of BRI through the ongoing modernisation of the Port of Mombasa and the construction of the SGR and called on neighbouring countries to play their part in the initiative.

The Kenyan leader welcomed President Xi Jinping’s firm commitment to the continued opening up of the vast Chinese market to imports from developing countries affirming that Kenya is ready to take advantage of these opportunities for the mutual benefit of the people of both nations.