Kenya bags billions from presidential trips abroad

June 15, 2015 12:07 pm
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They range from global institutions setting up their headquarters in Kenya, new jobs for Kenyans, massive investments in fisheries, rail, regional peace, trade, energy, water and air flight rights/FILE
They range from global institutions setting up their headquarters in Kenya, new jobs for Kenyans, massive investments in fisheries, rail, regional peace, trade, energy, water and air flight rights/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – New multi-billion dollar investments, grants and programmes are some of the benefits Kenya has bagged in presidential visits abroad in the last two years of the Jubilee administration.

They range from global institutions setting up their headquarters in Kenya, new jobs for Kenyans, massive investments in fisheries, rail, regional peace, trade, energy, water and air flight rights.

In the United Arab Emirates, for instance, President Uhuru Kenyatta successfully pushed for the employment of 100,000 young Kenyans and negotiations are going on to establish the sectors, skills and contracts that will be made available to the youth.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says President Kenyatta has held many bilateral meetings with leaders of many countries and international organisations, adding that the gains have been many.

“The larger detail of the negotiations is overwhelming. The encouraging thing is that the President sat in all those meetings and pushed the national agenda and interests with a lot of passion,” Mohamed told Nexus.

A Foreign Affairs ministry report, ‘Deliverables From State Visits By His Excellency the President – April 2013 to Date’ outlines the benefits and deals good for Kenya that the President has negotiated with world leaders and international organisations.

President Kenyatta has visited Kampala and Kigali many times for the Heads of State of the Northern Corridor Summit. In the meetings, the leaders have given priority to infrastructure and expansion of the economy. The projects include the Standard Gauge Railway, ICT infrastructure, power transmission and inter-connectivity, immigration, trade, tourism and labour services.

Others are commodities exchange, refined oil petroleum pipeline, air space management, Single Customs Territory, Defence Cooperation and Peace and Security Cooperation. A lot has been achieved from the summits, including the start of construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and the signing of a power agreement in which Kenya will sell power to Rwanda beginning September.

In Africa, the President has had robust diplomatic and peace missions in line with the Jubilee manifesto. South Sudan, Somalia and the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa Republic have been at the centre of the peace missions. The President has been in talks with leaders of the warring countries in Addis Ababa, Juba and even London.

He has also boosted bilateral and trade ties with more African countries than ever before in the history of independent Kenya. Such countries include Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Algeria, among others. During the visits, agreements on cooperation, trade, energy, peace and security, among others have been signed. As a result, trade between Kenya and the rest of Africa is increasing.

During the President’s one-week visit to China in August 2013, many benefits accrued to Kenya. Agreements on the Standard Gauge Railway, economic and technical cooperation co-operation, aviation, security, health and agriculture were signed. Other deals clinched were in cultural cooperation, energy, forestry and ecological conservation, investment promotion and the Nairobi Grid Innovation Project.

In the Americas, President Kenya has been to the United States twice, for the US-Africa Summit in Washington DC and to the UN General Assembly in New York. At the Summit, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation committed $250 million (Sh24bn) to finance the construction of 310 megawatts wind power project near Lake Turkana, the documents discloses. A Trade Power Africa initiative, announced at the summit will build Africa’s ability to do business. The Kenya delegation also held discussions with Delta Airlines over direct flights from Nairobi to the US.

In the Arab world, the President has been to Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Agreements on the establishment of a Nairobi International Financial Services Centre, avoidance of double taxation, and the construction of a 500MW power plant in Mombasa were signed.

Others are on the setting up of an auction for Kenyan flowers in Dubai, investment in infrastructure, energy, mining and the Kenya Meat Commission, among others.

From Russia, President Kenyatta held discussions with government and business leaders after which agreements on tourism, sports and culture, air services were to be signed. The President had flown to Russian on his way to China to watch Kenyan athletes at the World Athletic Championships.

In Turkey, the Turkish National Police Service undertook to support in-service and basic training for their Kenyan counterparts and also undergraduate and postgraduate studies in security.

The two countries signed agreements and memoranda on air services, visa abolition, health, science, technology, tourism, education, security and youth. Others were in mining and small and medium enterprises

(Nexus is the Government Newsroom)

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