It was 9 am in a hot and humid Beijing at 34 degrees Celsius and a feels like of 40 degrees. The Sky was bluish and the air was cleaner than usual for it had rained heavily the whole night.
As soon as we got our bags, a taxi was waiting to rush us to the conference venue. Nobody spoke English but everybody knew who we were and where we were supposed to go. We had no option but to put our trust in them and be taken wherever they thought we should go.
An hour later, we were already settled in the beautiful auditorium of the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University. Chinese courtesy and finesse with visitors is unmatchable. They were aware that our trip had been long and tiring.
Everyone told us the equivalent of ‘Pole kwa Safari’ in Chinese and offered us materials, food and what not.
Analysing the AfCFTA in Beijing
This was the first Africa-China workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), organised by the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University. Kenya was well represented by Prof James Gathii with his wife and daughter, Mukami Wangai, Ndanga Kamau and myself.
Tanzania had a large delegation, headed by Ambassador Sani Mohammed of the African International Law Institute, and so were Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia and Gabon.
Justice Abdulqawi Yusuf, President of the International Court of Justice, delivered the keynote and Justice Fatsah Ouguergouz from Algeria, former Vice President of the African Court of Peoples’ and Human Rights, was also present, among other high ranking Personalities.