NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – On his first day in office, President Uhuru Kenyatta held a series of meetings with regional leaders and envoys who called on him at State House, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, met and held talks with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.
During the meeting, President Kenyatta and Kagame discussed issues of mutual interest at bilateral and regional levels.
Later, President Kenyatta met and held separate talks with Malawi Vice-President Khumbo Kachali, US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Shashi Tharoor, South Korea’s special envoy Choung Byoung-gug, Sri Lanka’s special envoy Guna Wardena and China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Vice-Chairman Zhang Baowen.
President Kenyatta also held talks with World Bank Vice-President Makhtar Diop and World Bank Country representative Johannes Zutt.
At the meeting with China’s NPC Vice-Chairman, the Head of State invited more Chinese investors to the country, assuring them that Kenya has a highly skilled human resource base that can be exploited to facilitate trade between the two countries.
President Kenyatta further said his government is keen on increasing the flow of local exports into the Chinese market, singling out green tea and coffee as products that can be taken to another level for the benefit of the Kenyan population.
Through the existing Joint Trade and Economic Commission between Kenya and China, the two governments will continue exploring ways of enhancing trade and investment through value-addition and capacity building that addresses the trade imbalance, President Kenyatta added.
On his part, Baowen, a special envoy of President Xi Jinping of China, delivered congratulatory and goodwill messages from his Head of State to President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya.
The Chinese special envoy further said the two countries will continue to cooperate in areas such as climate change and United Nations reforms and looked forward to continued collaboration on other international matters.
Given Kenya’s strong agricultural potential, the special envoy said there is a wide scope for cooperation in agricultural technologies, farming mechanization and use of better seed.
During talks with the Malawi’s special envoy, the president said Kenya had a lot to learn from Malawi’s government policy intervention on food Production.
President Kenyatta noted that the decision by the Malawi government to reintroduce fertilizer subsidies as part of the 2005 Fertilizer Subsidy Policy contributed to the turnaround from a food deficit to a country producing surplus food.
In response, Kachali said Malawi was keen to learn from Kenya’s successful implementation of the Constituency development Fund (CDF).
During a meeting with US civil rights activist Jackson, the president said issues of peace, national unity and reconciliation were top on the Jubilee Government’s list of immediate priorities.
Jackson on his part congratulated President Kenyatta and the Kenyan people for conducting a peaceful election and emphasized the need for reconciliation after last month’s general election.
The civil rights activist added that mutual respect was a pre-requisite in international relations.
Meeting Tharoor of India, the president said Kenya was keen on strengthening technical cooperation especially in health and agricultural sectors.
The Indian special envoy expressed confidence that being a young leader, President Kenyatta will propel Kenya into greater heights in development.
At the meeting with South Korea’s special envoy Choung Byoung-gug, President Kenyatta noted that although Kenya and South Korea started on the same footing in the 1970s, massive investment in human capital and technology had made South Korea one of the most industrialized countries in the world.
On his part, the special envoy said South Korea looked forward to working with the new Government in ICT investment through education exchange programmes between the two countries.
The talks were attended by outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri and Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet Francis Kimemia among other senior Government officials.