At a meeting between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and an Egyptian delegation led by the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Kamel Amr, Egypt committed herself to strengthening support for water conservation, drilling boreholes and building dams for irrigation and drinking water in Kenya.
The Egyptian Minister said under the aegis of Egyptian initiative for development in Africa, his government had made a budget for specific areas of cooperation and assistance with countries in the Nile basin noting that Agriculture, energy, health capacity building, trade were some of the areas they were ready to fund.
He said, “The government of Kenya should urgently identify projects that should be funded under this cooperation.”
On the Nile, Amr said it was a unifying factor for countries in the Nile basin adding Egypt was committed to contributing to the conservation of the source of the River Nile.
On his part Odinga underscored the importance of the Joint Commission of cooperation between Kenya and Egypt saying it was instrumental in the improvement of trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Odinga however added that there were still opportunities for further expansion of the cooperation, saying in addition to the Kenyan tea, Egypt could also import livestock products from Kenya.
The PM noted with satisfaction that some Egyptian companies had invested in the Kenya Railway, adding areas of investment abound in the country in the finance and ICT sectors among others.
Odinga also touched on the Somalia issue and asked the Egyptian government to support Kenya’s military activity against the Al Shabab in Somalia in order to bring peace and stability in the region.
Noting that before Kenya’s military incursion in Somalia, Al Shabaab was causing general insecurity and wrecking the country’s economy by targeting its tourism industry. He said, “Kenya’s incursion into Somalia was to stop frequent attacks on tourists and other atrocities committed by the terror organisation on innocent people.”
The PM noted that due to the instability in Somalia which has not had a central government for nearly 20 years, Kenya is hosting some 600,000 Somali refugees at Dadaab which has overstretched the available resources. He emphasised that it was important to stabilise Somalia so as to stop more refugees crossing the border into Kenya and other countries in the region.
In response, Amr said Egypt understood Kenya’s motives in Somalia but hoped that peace will soon prevail in that long suffering country.
Odinga also pointed out that due to the insecurity in the waters of the Indian Ocean, piracy had escalated with ships being hijacked for ransom. “This has forced ships to take detours to avoid the pirates, a move that has proved to be very expensive to international trade,” he said.
He said Kenya will be hosting an international conference in March this year on piracy and extended an invitation to Egypt to attend.The Egyptian Minister accepted the invitation.