Kenya is ready for Clinton visit

August 4, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Aug 4 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected in the country on Tuesday evening for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.

Mrs Clinton is on Wednesday scheduled to deliver a speech at the Ministerial Opening Ceremony for the AGOA Forum. She will also hold talks with Kenya’s senior leaders.

Also during the high-level tour, the top US diplomat will on Wednesday afternoon visit the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) laboratories along Waiyaki Way.

She will be accompanied by US Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, together with U.S. Representatives Donald M. Payne and Nita M. Lowey.

“The visit will focus on KARI’s contributions to Kenya’s food security and agricultural development. It will include a laboratory tour, discussion with KARI staff and collaborating partners, observation of a maize research plot, and ceremonial tree-planting,” according to a brief from the US embassy in Nairobi.

“As highlighted in President Obama’s speech at the G-8 meetings and subsequent communiqués, food security is a high priority of this US Administration.”

 The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), support a wide array of agricultural development activities in Kenya and the region. USAID and USDA have supported KARI through a variety of capacity-building and technology development and transfer programs since the 1960s.

On Thursday, Mrs Clinton is scheduled to meet with Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the President of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.

The seven-nation, 11-day trip is to be Mrs Clinton’s longest since she became the top US diplomat six months ago and her first to sub-Saharan Africa.

The State Department has underlined that her visit, which comes just three weeks after President Barack Obama visited the continent, is the earliest trip by a Secretary of State to Africa of any administration.

Mrs Clinton could face tough talks in Nairobi. African leaders have been concerned that President Obama is looking to extend the trade preferences under the 2000 African Growth and Opportunity Act to other poor nations — including Bangladesh and Cambodia, competitors in the textile market.


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