, MOMBASA, Kenya, Jul 27 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday enlisted the support of Kenyan envoys in marketing the country as an attractive and preferred investment destination in their countries of accreditation.
The President said that an aggressive campaign to improve the country’s image abroad was important to accelerate the economic developmental goals as outlined in the Vision 2030.
The Head of State threw the challenge while addressing the envoys in Mombasa during the official opening of the 15th Biennial Kenya Ambassadors and High Commissioners Conference.
“I urge you to continuously promote both the country’s broad and strategic interests particularly those that would catalyse the attainment of Kenya’s priority economic goals,” he said.
The President observed: “This can only be possible if you become proactive and evolve strategies that will market Kenya as an attractive and competitive destination with excellent opportunities and facilities for foreign investors, businessmen and tourists.”
In this regard President Kibaki noted that the diplomats had a duty to project the image of the country positively by availing reliable information about the country during their interactions with government’s of countries of representation.
“This is particularly critical as we must repackage our image which was dented by the political difficulties that we faced early last year,” the President said.
The Head of State reaffirmed that the diplomats had a significant role to play in the implementation of Vision 2030 by engaging development partners and attracting investors to collaborate with the government in funding projects in key sectors of the economy.
The President, who expressed the commitment of the government to make Kenya a globally competitive nation, said that among the priority areas of partnerships with donors are infrastructural development, trade and investment.
He told the top diplomats to enlarge their focus from the traditional markets for Kenya ’s products and instead to explore new markets and attract foreign direct investments.
The President observed: “To sustain these important programmes, we expect you to help us in continuously engaging our friends and partners who have been assisting in funding our free education programmes.”
The Head of State expressed satisfaction that the emphasis the government has put on manpower and skills development over the years, the country has become a net exporter of skilled manpower and affirmed the importance of integrating the diaspora in national development as well as in foreign policy formulation.
“The Diaspora is not only crucial for remittances back home but perhaps more importantly for transfer of skills, knowledge and technology. I am pleased to note that you will be devoting a substantial part of your discussions on the Diaspora and you have even gone step ahead and invited representatives of the large Kenyan Diaspora to take part in the discussions,” declared the President.
The President at the same told the diplomats to seek ways of unveiling Kenyans into the international labour market.
He, however, pointed out that the country’s economic success depended largely on peace, security and amicable resolution of conflicts both internally and regionally.
“That is why we are fully engaged in finding a lasting solution to the difficulties in Somalia. The escalating crisis in Somalia and the related problem of piracy off Somalia ’s coastline are of great concern to our security and competitiveness,” he observed.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula in his welcoming address said a new foreign policy with emphasis on trade and economic diplomacy has been designed as a principle for interaction with the rest of the world.
The new policy, Mr Wetangula added, has undergone all the stages of stakeholder consultation and was ready for submission to the Cabinet.
The conference whose theme is ‘Leveraging Kenya’s Diplomacy for Enhanced Competitiveness’ would consider how best Kenyans in the Diaspora could be integrated in the national development efforts and review the effects of post election challenges and the global financial crisis in relation to future diplomatic engagements.