The Chinese factor – Northern Corridor Heads of Summit Declare October 2014 as Dateline for Member States to Commence Construction of the Standard Gauge Railway

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The high level Northern Corridor heads of state meeting concluded on a high note – which depicts the Chinese influence on Africa – with a communique that requires all partner states to commence construction of the contentious Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) by October 2014.

Only last Thursday, and contrary to earlier expectations, National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) cleared the SGR project although the report is yet to be formally approved after Parliament adjourned for a month last week. 

Kenya’s President Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, his counterpart from Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Mr Paul Kagame and South Sudan’s Gen Salva Kiir were in Nairobi to make the major announcement. Tanzania and Burundi sent representatives.

The announcement is a clear welcome message and high success of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang (pictured) Africa trip, with Nairobi visit running from May 9 to 11, 2014.

On energy, the heads of state directed their ministers to standardize inter-connection voltage at 400 KiloVolts and conclude power purchase agreements in two months time.

On immigration, member states must implement the inter-state passes by July 1 and sensitize their citizens by May 15. 

Click here for the complete communique from the heads of state 

Before coming to Kenya, the Chinese Premier, Mr. Li Keqiang, will be leading a high powered 129-member delegation to Nigeria between May 6-8 before departing for Kenya. 

While in Nigeria, Africa’s new darling will also attend the plenary session of the World Economic Forum for Africa and will meet President Goodluck Jonathan.

Besides, Nigeria and China are expected to sign six major agreements/Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) on agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the government of both countries; handover and acceptable certificate for the malaria diagnosis equipment and consumables for China-Nigeria anti-malaria centre, exchange of letters for China-aided Nigeria anti-malaria drugs programme, Bilateral Air Services agreement between both governments.

The two leaders will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding between Food and Drug Administration of China and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) on regulatory cooperation of pharmaceutical products, Medical devices and cosmetics and an agreement of Special facility for the development of Africa’s SMEs with Nigeria banking sector.

Kenya”s foreign affairs ministry is yet to announce the specific itinerary of the China power man while in the country next week

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