NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that the visit by US President Barack Obama is important because it will offer him an opportunity to discuss a range of issues, including investment opportunities and support in fighting terrorism.
The president said Kenya and the US have remained partners on development since independence and the visit will only serve to strengthen the partnership even further.
“The fight against terror will be central, we have been working in very close collaboration with American agencies in our fight against terrorism and I am certain that that is an agenda that we shall further strengthen during this particular meeting because it is our common objective to ensure that not only Kenya, but the whole world is free from those who would wish to impose their negative views on society,” he said at an address from State House where he outlined his agenda during the bilateral talks with Obama.
President Obama is expected in the country on Friday, with a huge delegation some of who are already in the country to pursue investment opportunities during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
“There cannot be trade, there cannot be entrepreneurship if we do not have a secure environment. So it is important that we are able to ensure that we can guarantee security for all in order to be able to focus on the issue of trade. I would not say that there is one that is more important than the other.
Both go hand in hand, the need to have a secure environment that is conducive for economic activity,” he said.
Although a sketch programme on Obama’s activities and timing have been provided, the finer details of the timings of the activities remain a guarded secret with the Americans, with the US embassy in Nairobi saying it is standard procedure to safeguard such issues, until the last minute due to security reasons.
Details so far released indicate that President Obama will officiate the opening of the GES, hold bilateral talks with his host President Kenyatta, visit the 1998 US Embassy memorial site at the heart of the capital Nairobi and will also hold talks with the opposition leaders as well as members of the civil society.
It still remains unclear if he will visit his ancestral home in Kogelo, Siaya County after the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said it is highly unlikely, although other sources say he might make a surprise visit there which officials have described as a private event.
The Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) has begun working on an elaborate branding strategy to market Kenya, due to the global attention Obama attracts whenever he goes.
His brand is said to be so progressive, that Portfolio Magazine places his visits’ economy on tourism and swag, at 2.5 billion dollars.
Already major five star hotels are booked to capacity, because Obama will be traveling with a team of more than 400 people on his tour, including a battery of 120 journalists, most of who travels with him on Air force One, besides delegates attending the global conference.