NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday met with members of the Japanese Parliament to discuss bilateral issues aimed at strengthening co-operation between the two countries.
The delegation also reviewed Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy and particularly to African.
The Prime Minister thanked the delegation which consisted of three members of the Upper House all from the Democratic Party that defeated the ruling Liberal Democrtic Party LDP, for visiting Kenya soon after formation of a new coalition government in Japan and hoped that the new government will help encourage even stronger relationship between the two countries.
He said that Africa is undergoing a transition where the old order of dictatorship and bad governance was giving way to democracy, accountability and efficiency in management of public resources.
The PM said that Africa, and Kenya in particular , is now feeling the effect of climate change and global warming citing the melting of snow on both mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro and the increased incidences of malaria in the highlands due to rise in temperatures.
He said that Kenya can contribute significantly in addressing green house effect but needs financial support.
“Kenya can contribute significantly to reducing green house gas emissions but needs very large financial support for this .This should be one of the pillars of Japanese ODA,’’ he said.
The PM said that one of the ways the government is addressing these climate changes is through revitalising stalled irrigation projects to intensify farming so as to move away from over relying on rain fed agriculture.
Mr Odinga observed that while official development assistance is welcome and necessary, investment and trade is even more urgently needed adding that Japanese private investment in Africa is limited except for natural resources.
The Premier noted that another pillar of Japanese ODA is to facilitate direct investment of Japanese private businesses and appealed for more private sector investments from Japan to Africa and Kenya in particular.
The PM stated that the post election violence ‘’was an accident ‘’ because it had never happened before and the government was doing everything possible to avoid recurrence of the same through addressing underlying issues that led to the skirmishes.
At the same time the Prime Minister said that the government was dealing with critical issues like infrastructure so as to open up the country, insecurity and corruption to enable the country attract more investments.
On balance of trade, the PM said that the present scenario favours Japan and called on Japan to purchase more tea, flowers and other products to bridge this gap.
“Also needed is to facilitate exports to Japan. Kenya faces major hurdles in exporting flowers and vegetables to Japan.” He observed.
The PM also called on Japan to invest in IT especially with the landing of the fibre optic cable and the piloting of constituency digital villages.
The delegation said Japan is committed to addressing environmental issues and has been providing assistance based on the environmental conservation initiative for sustainable development.
They said that Japan was willing to double its assistance to Kenya in the fields of education, infrastructural development and emergency assistance.