NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have left no doubt over the importance their regime places on the East African Community (EAC).
So important is it that within a week of releasing their cabinet structure, they changed the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism to the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism.
Phyllis Jepkosgei Kipkingor-Kandie has now been charged with nurturing those relations as the Cabinet nominee to the ministry, assuming Parliament gives her the necessary approval.
“My administration is committed to regional trade and cooperation and will continue to strengthen ties through the free movement of people, goods and investment, including the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the EAC. My goal is to see the continued growth of our community towards ultimate integration,” Kenyatta pledged in his inauguration speech.
Kandie who will be expected to make true on these promises, is no stranger to diplomacy or international relations being wife to Ambassador Julius Kandie and having pursued her higher education outside the country.
“In 1986, she joined St Mary’s University, Canada for her undergraduate where she attained a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics.
She then proceeded to Middlesex University, United Kingdom (UK) in 1991 and Durham University for her MBA and further training,” Kenyatta said as he read out her profile at Thursday’s nomination.
Given these academic qualifications and her work experience, the commercial aspect of the ministry should be right up her alley.
Kandie is currently the Director of Investment Advisory Services at Standard Investment Bank. She has also consulted for the World Bank and European Union and sat on the Kenya Revenue Authority board.
The tourism industry took precedence in Ruto’s inauguration address as one of the ways through which the government hopes to achieve double digit economic growth and so in addition to bolstering economic growth through East African integration if appointed, Kandie will also have to put the lesser traversed parts of Kenya – such as Turkana – on the tourist map.