, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – President Uhuru Kenyatta left the country on Sunday for Washington D.C. for an official visit where he is expected to attend the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.
Over 50 African heads of state are expected at the Summit where issues on development, investing in Africa’s future, peace and security will be discussed.
Kenya is expected to rally the US to support the implementation of the Tripartite Agreement signed between Kenya, Somalia and United Nations High Commission for Refugees on the repatriation of Somali Refugees; seek boost in logistics, air and maritime support assets for the AU-led Amisom; and help for the IGAD peace process in South Sudan, including the deployment of an IGAD task force under the expanded UNMISS.
Briefing journalists in Nairobi on Friday, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the government will also push for the creation of the Eastern African Standby Force and The Peace Fund as a tool for regional conflict resolution and management in the region.
The country’s strategic location in the region has predisposed it to threats such as piracy in the Indian Ocean, terrorism, cross-border trafficking in drugs and people, poaching, money laundering and small arms and light weapons proliferation, many of which are fuelled by regional conflicts.
A statement from the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit said President Kenyatta’s visit will also seek on strengthening ties between the US and Kenya in trade, capital investment, infrastructure, energy and security.
During the visit, the President will address the Corporate Council on Africa which represents some the US’ major multinational companies including General Electric Ltd, Coca Cola and IBM. He is also expected to hold talks with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
To attract external investment, the President will meet a select group of business people who have Kenya specific investment proposals at a forum convened by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
During the meeting, the President will discuss Kenya’s mega infrastructure projects including expansion of airports, roads, commuter railway lines and construction of new ports along the coastal region – which present diverse opportunities for investors in the US, looking to participate in Africa’s rise.
Kenya’s delegation will also push for a seamless renewal of AGOA for a further 15 years, and favourable resolution of issues pertaining to predictability, application of the Third Country Fabric Rule, eligibility and Rules of Origin to restore certainty to exporters.
By 2013, US – Kenya trade amounted to Sh95.6 billion ($1.1 billion), with Kenya exporting Sh39.5 billion ($451 million), and importing Sh57.1 billion ($651 million).
The $451 million value of exports in 2013 represented a 16% year-on-year increase.
These developments have been accompanied by equally good news on the Kenyan domestic front. After a period of economic difficulty, economic growth took off in the
last decade, and GDP has since grown steadily – to 3.8 trillion ($44.1billion) last year, which represents a 4.7% increase.
President Kenyatta’s delegation includes Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Joseph Ole Lenku (Interior and Coordination of National Government), Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Eng Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure) and Adan Mohammed (Industrialization and Enterprise Development).