China is to finance giant Garissa solar energy generating plant

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa [center] speaks to the media during a press conference at Chinese Embassy in Nairobi. China has signed an agreement to assist Kenya to set up a 50-megawatt solar plant, which will be one of the largest solar plants in Africa. Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu said the energy plant will be located in northeastern Kenya’s Garissa county. XINHUA PHOTO - SUN RUIBO

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China has signed an agreement to assist Kenya to set up a 50 Megawatt solar plant, which will be one of the largest solar plants in Africa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa has said.

Liu told a media briefing in Nairobi that the energy plant will be located in northeastern Kenya’s Garissa county.

“China Import-Export Bank will provide a concessional loan to Kenya in order to complete the renewable energy project,” Liu said.

The project will boost the development of the Garissa region especially in employment creation and help to reduce extremism and terrorism in the region.

Garissa is the site where 148 people were killed in a terror attack conducted by Somalia-based militant group ‘al-Shabaab’ in April this year.

After the attack, Chinese nationals in Kenya have donated approximately 67,000 U.S. dollars to the families of victims and survivors.

“After extensive research and mutual exchanges between the two countries, China has listed Kenya as one of the pilot countries to benefit from industrial cooperation with China,” Liu said, noting that Kenya was selected due to its solid industrial foundation, sound regulatory regime as well as robust financial market.

He stated that the solar plant project is likely to succeed due to Kenya’s strong influence in the East and Central African region.

China is Kenya’s largest source of financing, largest construction project contractor and its second largest trading partner.

Data from the Chinese embassy in Kenya shows that bilateral trade between the two countries reached over 5 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, which is a 53 percent increase from the year 2013.

Chinese contract investment into Kenya in 2014 stood at around 600 million dollars, which represents a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

According to the ambassador, cooperation in the areas of science and technology has also expanded in recent years with the construction of the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

And in April this year, the Chinese government has handed over the second batch of equipment to the National Youth Service, which Liu said is aimed at improving the employment for Kenyan youth.

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