, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga is now calling upon Kenya’s diplomats to engage their host countries in trade and investment opportunities available in Kenya as opposed to seeking aid.
The Premier noted on Tuesday that the country had moved away from dependency on foreign aid and asked the envoys to ensure that Kenyan goods found market in their countries of accreditation.
He also asked the attachés to engage in advocacy roles that would increase foreign investments in the country.
“Though we still need assistance from our development partners, emphasis should be more on increasing trade and investment between Kenya and foreign countries as opposed to looking for donations from them,” he said.
Mr Odinga who was speaking in Nairobi after the 29 newly appointed Kenyan High Commissioners and Ambassadors paid him a courtesy call further asked them to paint a clear picture of the country.
“Most Kenyans living in foreign countries rely on the internet for information about home which might not be accurate and that is where your input as ambassadors comes in, since you are in a better position to get accurate information,” he said.
The PM also noted that Kenyans in the Diaspora remitted US$ 600 million last year and made the returns part and parcel of Kenya’s foreign exchange earnings.
The Premier added that Kenyans living abroad would have something to smile about if the new Constitution goes through the referendum as it provided for dual citizenship.
Further, Mr. Odinga implored upon the envoys to always project the image of a united government saying that although Kenya’s was a coalition government of two partners, it touched on matters of national interest.
“The apparent differences between Cabinet Ministers seen at rallies and other public forums are not evident in Cabinet meetings and the Cabinet is united in its agenda to deliver to the people of Kenya,” he said.
The Premier also touched on performance contracting, saying the diplomats should embrace and actualise it in their stations as a tool of management.
“The sum total of the activities in your respective stations will contribute to the ultimate assessment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the next cycle of performance contracts which starts in July,” he said.
Mr Odinga also told the envoys that they were expected to multi task and deal with various issues as the government found it expensive to retain officers for specific duties in foreign missions.
The 29 envoys have been undergoing a two week induction course before taking up their new appointments.
The circumstances surrounding their (diplomats) appointment remain controversial with a cross section of civil societies calling on the Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula to make their selection public. Mr Wetangula had earlier promised that President Kibaki would make known the appointments.