Huaibei in East China's Anhui province has launched a new wave of business exploration in Africa, sending an economic and trade delegation, including government officials and businesspeople, to visit Kenya recently.
The delegation, led by Li Ming, deputy secretary of the Huaibei Committee of the Communist Party of China and executive vice-mayor of Huaibei, exchanged views with the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce on the country's investment environment.
"The information era has shortened the distance between China and Kenya," Li told the group. "In line with China's Belt and Road Initiative, Huaibei is eager to extend its investment arm and look for business opportunities in Kenya, the pivotal country on the African continent along the Belt and Road."
Huaibei, known as the "capital of energy and township of power", has produced nearly 1 billion metric tons of coal since its establishment in 1960. It boasts advanced coal excavating equipment, coal preparation and processing equipment and high-end mining equipment.
"This machinery and equipment will be complementary to Kenya's mining industry and infrastructure construction," Li said.
The executive members of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce told the delegation about the investment environment and business policies of Kenya, including its culture, legal system, resources and industrial development.
Zhuo Wu, chairman of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said at the meeting, "The Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce is willing to bridge the investments from the motherland with recipient projects in Kenya in an effort to promote the efficiency of the investment."
Information and experiences in the sectors of chain store retail, prospecting, real estate, tourism, furniture, building materials, security, logistics, insurance and agricultural processing also were shared with the delegates.
"The exchanges have greatly changed our previous impression about Africa," Li said. "Kenya's pro-business environment, liberal foreign exchange policy, the language advantage and attractive labor force have constituted favorable conditions for investment."
During its stay in Nairobi, the delegation also visited nearby Machakos County, which is home to many building material enterprises, including reinforcement bar and cement businesses.
Huaibei has an industrialization rate of 60 percent and is strong in its development of photovoltaics, according to Li.
After learning that Huaibei is strong in agriculture, the processing industry and new energy, Alfred Mutua, governor of Machakos, showed strong interest in future cooperation with Huaibei.
The two sides signed a letter of intent on the establishment of a friendship city relationship between Huaibei and Machakos, the capital of Machakos county, to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Kenyan peoples and to consolidate and develop friendly cooperation between the two cities.
Under the letter of intent, the two sides will improve mutually beneficial cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, science and technology, culture, education and sports to promote common prosperity and development.
The delegation also visited the Kenya Investment Authority, whose general manager, Pius Rotich, introduced Kenya's investment policies and channels and said the authority is willing to provide assistance in expanding investment resources and handling certificates for Chinese investors.
The delegation will also visit South Africa.
As part of the Central Plain Economic Region in China, Huaibei covers 2,741 square kilometers and has a population of 2.17 million. Located at the junction of the four provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui and Henan, the city is the core of the Huaihai Economic Zone, with a population of nearly 200 million in the surrounding area.