Cablegate: Foreign Minister Tuju & Trade Minister Kituyi
DE RUEHNR #5376/01 3621021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281021Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6223
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0297
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 005376
TAGS: PGOV PREL ETRD CH SO KE
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER TUJU & TRADE MINISTER KITUYI
DISCUSS CHINA, AFRICA?S IMAGE AND U.S.-KENYA RELATIONS
WITH SENATOR FEINGOLD
REF: A. NAIROBI 05165
B. NAIROBI 05269
1. (U) Summary: Foreign Minister Tuju characterized
Kenya's growing relations with China as a case of
"diversifying our portfolio." Trade Minister Kituyi
lauded China's price and quality competitiveness in
infrastructure projects. Senator Feingold spoke of the
necessity of improving Africa's image in the world and
the progress on governance reforms required to make that
happen. Finally, the Senator and the ministers discussed
U.S.-Kenya relations as regards foreign policy and trade
issues and the strong links between the two countries.
2. (U) During an hour-long conversation with Senator
Feingold and Ambassador Ranneberger, Foreign Minister
Rafael Tuju and Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi discussed a
wide range of topics. Their views on governance issues,
Somalia and Iraq are reported in reftels. This final
reporting message from that discussion covers China,
Africa's image, and U.S.-Kenya relations.
China: We're Diversifying Our Portfolio
3. (SBU) Senator Feingold asked the two ministers to
comment on China's growing presence in Africa. Tuju said
that he was very involved in managing Kenya's relations
with China. For him, it is a matter of "diversifying our
portfolios of creditors, suppliers and trading partners."
He noted that China is a fast rising world power and its
world trade is increasing with everyone, not just Africa.
"China just placed the largest order ever for Boeing
Aircraft. It's Development Bank has more money than the
World Bank!" (Note: We are not in a position to
validate either statement. End Note.) ?We realize that
China is motivated by self interest. Who isn't? They
want to conquer more markets and secure more resources.
We know there is no free lunch. But the allegation that
African nations are turning to China for development
assistance to avoid governance criteria is ludicrous and
false. You can deal with the West without governance
criteria as well. Look at Equatorial Guinea!"
4. (U) Trade Minister Kituyi added, "We and our
consumers know that China and India market sub-standard
products, but they are very competitive in infrastructure
projects in terms of both quality and price. The
Nairobi-Mombasa road is a good example!" (Note: Two
long stretches of this road were recently rehabilitated;
one by China and one by the EU. Initial reaction to the
upgrades are quite positive, but time will tell how the
roads stand up to the rains and heavy traffic. End
Improving Africa's Image in the World
5. (SBU) Senator Feingold spoke of the relatively low
status of the Africa subcommittee within the U.S. Senate
and his enthusiasm for serving on a subcommittee that
some of his peers disdain. He also spoke of the attitude
he often hears expressed by his constituents and business
leaders. "Isn't it hopeless?" they ask. Feingold
stated, "America must learn to think of Africa as a place
of hope and progress." To change Africa's image in the
world, progress must be achieved in combating terrorism
and AIDS, and in ending the continent?s conflicts. An
important part of changing world attitudes about Africa
will be success of a new generation of African leaders in
promoting democratic and anti-corruption values.
6. (SBU) Feingold asked the ministers to identify the
two greatest mistakes the U.S. has made in its Africa
policy. Kituyi replied, "You were too hesitant in
supporting the TFG (Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government). You made the error of supporting Somalia's
very unpopular warlords on the basis that the enemy of
your enemy is your friend. That miscalculation cost us
all dearly." He continued ?The second major error is
your refusal to end cotton subsidies for your farmers.
This stance hurts poor farmers in some of the poorest
countries in the world and it undermines your pro-
competition stance in world trade talks. Your farmers
are known to be the most subsidized in the world.?
(Comment: We suspect that EU farmers deserve that title.
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7. (SBU) Tuju commented, "We value the help of the U.S.,
especially in combating AIDS and terrorism. We have more
areas of convergence than divergence." Tuju continued,
"Kenyans immigrate to the U.S. and serve in the U.S.
military. That is the greatest possible vote of
confidence. Our links to the U.S. are stronger than
anyshere else. We are a young democracy and you are our
model. Ours is a transitional government, taking the
country's politics from a one-party state to multiparty
pluralism. We need your understanding and support."