Uhuru administration expects major business pacts out of US trip

September 11, 2016
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US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta on the former's visit to Kenya/FILE
US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta on the former’s visit to Kenya/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 — The President is set to attend the US-Africa Business Forum next week with plans to sell infrastructure and energy projects in the country to US firms.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu says there has been growing attention on Kenya’s infrastructure and energy sectors by US companies.

“We expect that they will pursue deliverables in this area during the New York meeting. A major US infrastructure and logistics group is also likely to announce it’s opening of offices in Kenya at that time, continuing the important message that the international community’s confidence in Kenya as an investment destination is indeed soaring, as evidenced also last week when Volkswagen announced in the past week, its return to Kenya, four decades after its departure,” Esipisu announced.

He says the forum will allow United States and African companies showcase ways in which their collaboration addresses new opportunities and challenges in both economies, this in the wake of a rapidly changing global economy.

President Kenyatta, with Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, Caterpillar Group Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberlman and IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty will also headline discussions on shaping the 21st Century workforce, highlighting measures that need to be implemented to address the challenges of finding jobs for Africa’s young people.

“It is an important discussion considering that 60 per cent of Africa’s population is between the ages of 15 to 25 and this number is expected to double in 2045. Here in Kenya, President Kenyatta’s administration is investing significantly in new infrastructure and technologies to rapidly accelerate education, literacy and skills training to help the country meet growing demand for jobs,” he explained.

Key also in the New York discussions will include economic diversification and regional integration, development of human capital, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as infrastructure and urban development.

The President will later address the US Council on Foreign Relations concerning Kenya’s role in Africa and attend the Business Council for international understanding meeting to provide an update on Kenya’s economic success, its strategy for continued growth, opportunities for investment and upcoming reforms.

This is part of the major meetings the President is expected to attend.

The President will send Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Oceans Summit in Washington DC.

“There are three important deliverables for Kenya at that event. First, increasing marine parks in an era where Oceans are threatened. Two, increasing Sea Scouts, equivalent of improving surveillance in same manner as Coast Guards do in order to better protect our coastal areas, and three, following on the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris, known as COP 21. Kenya is considered a pivotal player in discussions around this subject, recognition of our important voice in global affairs,” Esipisu noted.

Wakhungu will also attend a Board meeting of the UN Secretary General’s Science Advisory Board, of which she is a member.

Other key meetings important for Kenya include one on how the continent can better leverage the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Kenya is looking to further improve Kenya’s exports to the US Market under this programme.

“In the end, these meetings are about expanding opportunities for Kenyans, and ensuring that the administration responds effectively in delivering services it is committed to providing to the Kenyan people,” Esipisu concluded.

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