Hope for Kenyan workers when UAE consulate opens

August 18, 2014
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(L) President Emeritus, Center for Ethical business cultures United States, Robert MacGregor with (C) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed and (R) Chairman Institute of Directors Kenya, John P. Luusa during the launch of the 1st Ethics round table in Nairobi/FILE
(L) President Emeritus, Center for Ethical business cultures United States, Robert MacGregor with (C) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed and (R) Chairman Institute of Directors Kenya, John P. Luusa during the launch of the 1st Ethics round table in Nairobi/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – Kenyan labourers are among those set to benefit when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) opens its largest consulate in the world in Kenya.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the consulate will allow for the direct recruitment of Kenyan workers to the UAE, locking out unscrupulous middle men, “that take labourers outside and leave them there at the mercy of all the elements that are out there,” she said.

In June of 2012 the government suspended the export of domestic workers to the UAE, pending the vetting of recruitment agencies, in response to complaints of cruelty.

“The Government has noted with concern, the increasing number of Kenyan citizens who have sought employment in the Middle East as domestic workers (Housekeepers/maids) and ended up in distress,” Political and Diplomatic Secretary, at the time, Patrick Wamoto said.

There are an estimated 40,000 Kenyans living and working in the UAE and there is a great demand still, Amina said, for Kenyan labourers: “We are exporting a lot of labour to the UAE including the request we have from Australia from Qatar for an additional one thousand workers.”

Last year, UAE Ambassador to Kenya, Abdul Razak, announced that they would be setting up their biggest consulate in the world in Kenya during a trade delegation meeting with Mohamed.

On Monday Mohamed spoke during the inaugural Nairobi Ethics Roundtable on post 2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs); 500 days to the expiry of the millennium development goals.

Mohamed said the fact that Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Kamau Macharia, co-chairs the open working group on SDGs signaled a global recognition of Kenya’s pioneering role.

“The change in UNEP, ensuring it became a universal body instead of a body that was run by an executive board of only 53 countries was a reform that Kenya was clamouring for,” she said.

Kenya, she added, is also at the forefront of Africa’s demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council which she said, “deals mostly with African issues, it’s only recently that it started dealing with the issues of Arab countries.”

Further, she said, the UN General Assembly should play an oversight role over the Security Council given its inclusive membership.

Kenya was also leading the way, she said, where vetting of public officials is concerned and at par only with the United States in that respect.

But she did admit that the vetting process was a work in progress, “of course we’ll need to change some of the regulations for vetting, we’ll change some of the methods we use to vet. Even the methods for collecting of information on some of the personalities that are going to be vetted.”

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