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Ranneberger bids Kenya goodbye

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – Outgoing United States ambassador Michael Ranneberger on Wednesday said he was prepared to leave the country at any time to assume new responsibilities in Washington.

Amb Ranneberger who has been the longest-serving American envoy to Kenya said he would not seek Kenyan citizenship as widely speculated, but would instead retain strong ties with the east African nation.

He added that he would give more details about his next steps in due time maintaining that he would have wished to remain in Kenya.

"I am a US citizen and proud of that fact and I\’ll be going to another assignment in Washington.  But you know I\’ve developed both professional and personal ties to the country; roots that I certainly won\’t be severing… so I\’ll be in touch," he said.

The ambassador also renewed his call to Kenyans to take charge of their destiny, saying they should be the drivers of change in the country.  He argued that political reforms were required for economic prosperity especially as the country geared up for Vision 2030.

"What I find among the ordinary Kenyan when I travel is that they are smart and are aware of the issues and it is exciting to deal with such people. That\’s actually what gives me the greatest faith in the future of this country," he said.

"Everywhere you go people want change and that will help to push reforms ahead," he noted.

Amb Ranneberger who was speaking during a breakfast meeting with women entrepreneurs in Kenya also urged them to seize the opportunities created for them in the new Constitution.

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He argued that women needed to push the country\’s political reforms so as to achieve economic growth.

"If you empower women entrepreneurs, they will be able to push the reform agenda more effectively just like we are empowering young people. If you\’re a woman entrepreneur then you need to know that real development cannot be achieved in this country without political reforms," he argued.

Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations (FEWA) Chairperson Joanne Mwangi challenged like-minded business persons to partner with civil societies targeting women so as to empower them.

"(US President Barack) Obama says this to his daughters \’I hope that you will take up the role of righting the wrongs you see and working to give others the chance you had because it is only when you hit your wagon onto something larger than yourself that you will realise your true potential\’" she observed.

"And so we are asking you to please hit your wagon onto women because it is something that will do things that are greater than each of us as an individual," she said.

FEWA brings together ordinary women from all walks of life and helps them build networks that could build their businesses.

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