NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – Security and trade, according to State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, will be the two top subjects of discussion when President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this week.
President Kenyatta, who leaves for Japan on Wednesday, will be keen to discuss counter-terrorism efforts with his Japanese counterpart.
“Both Kenya and Japan have suffered terrorist attacks. The President will consult closely with the Prime Minister of Japan to see how both countries can help each other overcome the scourge of terrorism,” Esipisu said.
Japan, he continued to say, had already committed $200 million to non-military security efforts in the Middle East and Africa.
Still on security, Esipisu said, President Kenyatta would assure the Japanese PM of Kenya’s support of its effort to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2016-17.
“Naturally, it has sought its allies’ help. Kenya has confirmed its support, in line with its broader support for UNSC reform,” Esipisu explained.
On trade, Esipisu said President Kenyatta was keen “to cut sharply” the trade imbalance between the two nations.
Currently, he said, it favours Japan from whom Kenya imports machinery and exports horticultural products.
Significant strides, he said, had however been made in recent times with Toyota setting up a bus assembly plant in Changamwe, Toyota Tsusho, “agreeing,” to construct Kenya’s first fertilizer plant, the signing of an oil exploration deal between Japan Oil Gas and Metals Exploration Company and National Oil Corporation and given Nissan’s interest in setting up a car assembly plant in Kenya.
Japan, Esipisu said, is one of Kenya’s oldest partners and the latter has benefitted from over $420 billion in development assistance from the former over the years.
Following his visit to Japan, where he’s to also attend the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, President Kenyatta will head to Namibia where he, “will urge progress on the proposal to set up a tripartite free-trade area between the EAC, COMESA and SADC,” Esipisu said.