Trade, tackling HIV top President Kenyatta’s India visit

October 27, 2015 11:49 am
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President Kenyatta's four-day visit will include a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster bilateral relations with the sub-continent. The meeting will be dominated by Kenya's push for cheaper Anti-Retroviral drugs/PSCU
President Kenyatta’s four-day visit will include a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster bilateral relations with the sub-continent. The meeting will be dominated by Kenya’s push for cheaper Anti-Retroviral drugs/PSCU
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – President Uhuru Kenyatta left Tuesday for New Delhi, where he will hold talks with Indian government officials before joining fellow Heads of State for the third India-Africa summit.

President Kenyatta’s four-day official visit will include a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster bilateral relations with the sub-continent. The meeting will be dominated by Kenya’s push for cheaper Anti-Retroviral drugs.

“One of the key agenda items for the India-Africa summit is the long-pending Doha agenda, which is a matter of keen interest to Kenya, and also to India. The President wants the meeting to deal effectively with issues relevant to intellectual property rights in addition to leveraging an enhanced and equitable India-Africa partnership,” said Manoah Esipisu, State House Spokesperson.

The Doha Round refers to trade negotiations under the World Trade Organisation, which is due to hold its next ministerial conference in Nairobi in December.

“The President has also committed to Kenya becoming the third country in Africa, after Botswana and Namibia, to control its HIV epidemic. This requires concerted and smart actions, in particular for safeguarding sustained access to medicines,” Esipisu said.

Kenya, India and other African countries account for three quarters of 34 million persons living with HIV globally. Some 1.6 million Kenyans are infected with HIV, the fourth highest burden after South Africa, Nigeria and India.

The India-Africa Summit is modelled along the China-Africa Summit and the US-Africa Summit. They are forums that enable African leaders to further enhance relations in the political, economic and socio-cultural spheres, based on the principles of mutual respect, complementarity and promotion of people-to-people relations.

The meeting with Prime Minister Modi is the latest in a series of high-profile engagements President Kenyatta has embraced in his quest to tap new investments and increase bilateral trade with traditional as well as new partners.

He has already met the President Xi Jinping of China, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Barak Obama of the United States, British Prime Minister David Cameron, South African President Jacob Zuma, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos as he seeks markets for Kenyan goods and services.

The President regularly meets regional leaders – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn – as part of efforts to modernize infrastructure, improve the business environment and bolster the movement of goods, services and people in east Africa.

In India, President Kenyatta will tell Prime Minister Modi that India needs to offer preferential market access terms to a set of Kenyan products with potential in the Indian market, such as horticulture, precious metals and stones, tea and coffee.

“Kenyan products experienced challenges accessing India’s vast market. It is something the President would like to see resolved,” Esipisu said.

With fellow African leaders, President Kenyatta will discuss how to enhance relations between India and the continent, under the theme “Partners in Progress: Towards a Dynamic and Transformative Development Agenda”.

He will root for a joint India-Africa cooperation framework on health commodity security to facilitate local manufacturing capacity and promote technology transfer for production of high quality medicines.

At the summit, President Kenyatta will seek increased cooperation with India in technology transfer and capacity building as Africa grows its manufacturing and value addition industries as a way of strengthening the partnership.

He will also encourage more Indian companies to relocate their production to Africa in order to tap into the continent’s potential and to access the vast African market.

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