Kenya, US make progress in enforcing Obama pacts

July 13, 2016 12:03 pm
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Speaking during celebrations to mark the 240th anniversary of independence of the US, Ambassador Robert Godec said the two countries had implemented some of the issues agreed upon in different areas of partnership/FILE
Speaking during celebrations to mark the 240th anniversary of independence of the US, Ambassador Robert Godec said the two countries had implemented some of the issues agreed upon in different areas of partnership/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13 – Kenya and the United States are on course to implement agreements signed between President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta last year, according to the US Embassy in Nairobi.

Speaking during celebrations to mark the 240th anniversary of independence of the US, Ambassador Robert Godec said the two countries had implemented some of the issues agreed upon in different areas of partnership.

“We are starting to see some of the concrete results out of that agreement that was signed during President Obama’s visit,” he explained.

President Obama’s historic visit to Kenya last July saw him and President Kenyatta agree on 30 different areas of cooperation considered as important for development, economic ties and establishment of strong institutions.

One of the major achievements of the agreements included extension of visas of US and Kenyan citizens to five years to boost tourism and trade between the two countries.

“It has actually had quite a dramatic impact. It has really helped to facilitate movements of both Kenyans and Americans back and forth.”

Kenya’s major concern has been security due to challenges emanating from terrorism and radicalisation of youth to join the Al Shabaab terror group that has claimed responsibility for series of attacks meted on Kenya.

The US and Kenya also signed an agreement to help boost border security by providing security equipment and training of police and the army.

The agreements have seen Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) benefit from the Massachusetts National Guard which focuses on disaster management training.

“Our national guards do a lot of things in the US. They help protect the State during emergencies and crisis. They help deal with disaster management including the training that is being done on how to rescue pilots and others who may be down in hostile territories,” Godec explained.

Other areas of cooperation included strengthening of institutions to enhance governance and transparency.

According to Godec, under the area of governance and anti-corruption there were 40 areas of partnership alone.

“Some of those we made good progress. For example, we have been doing a lot on helping Kenya develop an ethics training programme and I hope that will roll out.”

The agreements have also seen the two countries work on addressing terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, cyber crime, money laundering and among others wildlife crimes which encapsulate to transnational crimes (cross border crimes).

Other areas of cooperation include trade to boost businesses and investments between the two countries and support to women in entrepreneurship.

According to Godec, Kenya and the US were still working on outstanding agreements to ensure their full implementation.

Over the years, Kenya and the US have partnered in other areas of development and health.

Over 900,000 Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS receive ARVs through US sponsored health programmes.

Last year the US channelled Sh80 billion to boost Kenya’s economy, enhance devolution, education and protect the country’s wildlife.

As the US celebrated independence, it was Godec’s wish and that of his country was to see a peaceful and democratic Africa.

Godec believes Africa too has the potential to build strong democracies to enhance peace and promote development anchored on strong institutions.

He particularly pledged that his country will continue to support peace efforts intended to stabilise Somalia and South Sudan, which recently witnessed deaths of over 200 people, mostly soldiers.

READ: False Facebook post blamed for 272 deaths in S. Sudan

Godec appealed to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Vice President Dr Riek Machar to ensure that the peace agreement is fully implemented to help bring perennial wars in the country to an end.

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