The rich, historic partnership between China and Africa began long before the current buzz surrounding the influx of Chinese funding of investments in Africa. When talking about Chinese landmark projects in Kenya, the first example that naturally comes to mind is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Few Kenyans born in the 1980s know that the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani was funded by the Chinese. Coincidentally, it was China that provided the Sh900 million that carried out renovations at the same stadium in 2010.
Under China’s early economic cooperation arrangements with Kenya, China also participated in the construction of the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital at Moi University in Eldoret.
A notable characteristic of Chinese aid from these early days was a two-way knowledge exchange between the two countries. China and Kenya signed an agreement for cultural cooperation in September 1980.
The two countries signed the protocol for cooperation in higher education, under which China provided Egerton University with teaching and research equipment. Starting from 1982, China would give Kenya at least 10 scholarships yearly.
In reciprocation, China requested Kenya to train Chinese students in tourism management at Utalii College in Nairobi, Kenya’s flagship training institution for skills in the tourism industry. China also seemed interested to learn from Kenya’s tea and coffee sectors - products that were to feature two decades later in China’s trade with Kenya. The benefits of China's investments in African development therefore run deeper than a trade and loans.