Naveed Aman Khan
Tea is highly popular drink all over the world, more so in Pakistan. Kenya is the largest black tea producing country of the world . Pakistan imports 80% of all black tea consumed locally from Kenya costing 40 billion rupees annually.
Kenya focuses on enhancement of trade, investment and bilateral diplomatic relations with Pakistan. Politically and economically, Kenya is East African giant so is Pakistan as nuclear State in South Asia. Kenya is one of top ten economies of Africa while Pakistan is among top ten emerging economies of the world. Pakistan and Kenya trade volume is highest at US $ 748.37 millions annually which is top business and trade of Pakistan with any of African country.
Kenya borders with South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia which is unending huge economic market for Pakistan and China. China has completed over 1200 kms long One Belt One Road project in Kenya from Mombasa to Nairobi leading to Kampala. Nairobi by air connectivity is number one in Africa being junction of air routes.
Kenya boasts of being the home of the famous Wild beasts’ migration, as Seventh Wonder of the World.
Pakistan-China friendship is matchless so is Pakistan-Kenya relation. Kenyan tea is present in every Pakistani’s life so are Chinese products. Chinese and Pakistani nations are rapidly coming close with cultural interaction after being connected through CPEC so will be Kenya and rest of the East African nations with Pakistan after being connected with East African first gate way of Mombasa up to a chain of unending East African market .
H.E. Prof Julius Kibet Bitok, Kenyan High Commissioner, is keenly interested for his homeland’s enhanced economic market exploration in Pakistan through CPEC. Kenya plans to diversify her trade with Pakistan being first leading East African beneficiary of CPEC. East African gateway Mombasa is getting importance because of Chinese global connectivity design through road rail and water. H.E. Prof. Julius is also keen in enhancing military cooperation with Pakistan. He observed that favorable with deals, future procurement of military hardware from Pakistan seems lucrative as JF17 Thunder has successfully captured Kenyan eye .
To enhance closer ties between the two brotherly countries, Prof. Julius wishes exchange of cultural and sports activities with Pakistan to attain its further attention up to Mombasa-Nairobi- Kampala One Belt One Road economic avenue completed by China in Kenya like CPEC design.
He envisages Kenya-Pakistan teams playing Cricket in Kenya and Pakistan. Kenyan athletic players who have won laurels internationally may come for marathons to Islamabad which will be blessing for terrorism over coming Pakistan. International sports and economic activities from across the entire world in Pakistan will remain our first priority. Extremism, political and economic instability will no more be our impression for entire world if we rapidly connect world exploring new economic and cultural horizons. Chinese global connectivity design through road, rail and water is ready made visionary formula for Pakistan to follow. H.E. Julius also believes direct flights between Karachi and Nairobi will enhance our connectivity and open up trade and business opportunities once again like past.
Over five thousand Pakistanis visit Kenya annually which reflects there is a lot for Pakistanis to explore business and trade with Kenya and rest of African countries. He also mentioned that former Pakistani Premiere Nawaz Sharif was keen to have a meeting with Kenyan Head of State Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta. Arrangements were at advanced stage but due to political developments in Pakistan that meeting could not be materialized. However, he expressed optimism that high level diplomatic engagements will still be pursued.
Like CPEC, similar projects are being pursued in Kenya under the larger One Belt One Road initiative by China. A standard gauge railway has been completed between the port city of Mombasa and Nairobi which is operational. This railway is to connect Ugandan capital Kampala and beyond. Kenya is gateway and strategic economic hub for the region, with its Mombasa port serving her landlocked neighbors Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan which is a large business, trade and investment market for Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian States. Both Pakistan and Kenya are confident to gain a lot from the grand Chinese projects to access regional markets alike of both Africa and South Asia.
Pakistan offers scholarships to Kenyan bright students getting education in Pharmacy, Engineering and Medicine in Pakistan. Pakistan and Kenya are holding hands for the prosperity of their citizens so are doing Pakistan and China.
Pakistan and Kenya should not dependent only upon mere tea and rice. They should move ahead to connect Mombasa and Gwadar to complete route from East African countries to Pakistan, Central Asian States and China through CPEC. So is the Chinese near future global connectivity design through road, railways and water. Around 1300 km long Karakoram Highways from China to Pakistan is eighth wonder of the world. Seventh and eighth Wonders are coming closer and getting connected. Pakistan should not mere rely on CPEC from Khunjrab to Gwadar. Beyond Gwadar entire East African region is waiting for its connectivity. China will get complete benefit of CPEC up to whole of East African larger market via Gwadar Mombasa and Kampala onward. Pakistan should get benefit of CPEC even more than China because it is already enjoying strong business ties with Kenya as entire CPEC is completed on Pakistani soil which is an advantage of Pakistan. Gwadar Mombasa connectivity will open new economic panorama for Pakistan and rest of South Asia. Soon Pakistanis will be seen eating Kenyan ugali in Pakistani restaurants as Chinese chicken chow mein. Pakistan will have to learn and follow Chinese multi-dimensional economic policies and approach to strengthen its economy to gloom gracefully with pride and splendour ahead.