NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Kenya and the United States Saturday opened a new chapter in their long-standing partnership, with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama underlining the deep ties between the two countries.
The United States President, who is in the country for a three-day visit, spent the afternoon at State House, Nairobi, where he held a bilateral meeting with President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries.
The two leaders later addressed a press conference within State House where they briefed journalists on the deliberations they had and also answered questions from reporters.
Obama arrived at State House shortly after 2pm and received a 21 gun salute after which he inspected a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Air Force.
Speaking after their bilateral meetings, the two Presidents expressed confidence in the direction Kenya-US partnership is headed.
“Our discussions affirmed that Kenya and the United States share deep values and critical interests. Naturally, therefore, our peoples and governments speak the same language on many issues,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta invited US investors to put more money in the Kenyan economy which is dynamic and open.
“The United States is a country of entrepreneurs with a unique capacity to build transformative businesses. I hope that these entrepreneurs and investors will recognize, and act on, the immense opportunities Kenya and Africa present,” he said.
President Obama said Kenya was headed in the right direction politically and economically.
He backed President Kenyatta’s fight against corruption and called on others to support him.
Obama said even the US has had its history of big-time corruption but this was brought to an end by bold initiatives by courageous leaders.
He said the war against corruption can be won when “people of integrity stand up and say this is not how it should be”.
“I applaud President Kenyatta for initiating the campaign against corruption,” he said. “The ideal the President is putting forward is the right one.”
Speaking earlier at the start of the bilateral meeting, President Obama said “Kenya is on the move” and asked his countrymen to take notice and take part in the economic transformation of the East African economic powerhouse.
“What happens in Africa is going to affect the whole world. Challenges of terrorism can be addressed but opportunities for economic growth, tourism and scientific exchanges are what Africans are hungry for,” he said.