NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has defended the high level visits and engagement by President Uhuru Kenyatta saying they have been invaluable to the country’s economic growth.
“High-level engagement and visibility of the President is a central pillar of Kenya’s foreign policy as the country strives to entrench its leadership as an economic power in the region as well as achieve global competitiveness,” said Mohamed.
Answering the many critics who allege that the President was travelling out of the country too many times, Mohamed said the State and official visits by President Kenyatta facilitated through her ministry were beneficial to the country.
“These efforts have borne positive results. FDI inflows into Kenya have risen from US$ 597 million in 2012/2013 to US$ 944 million in 2015. Which investments have resulted in the creation of jobs and wealth,” said CS Mohamed.
Good and well executed diplomacy cannot be without high level visits, since like in any normal relationship, one-on-one engagement has more impact unlike any other form of engagement, Mohamed told final year students of Sociology of the University of Nairobi Tuesday morning at the university’s multi-purpose Hall.
“Diplomacy is conducted through face-to-face engagements and meetings. Kenya is a very important country in the Southern Hemisphere being the only capital in developing world to host a United Nations office,” said Mohamed.
She said Kenya was deliberately focusing on economic diplomacy which involves paying greater attention to the promotion of trade, investment and tourism. It has also involved facilitating investment flows into Kenya, particularly into key sectors such as energy, agriculture, ICT, infrastructural development and the hospitality industry. It has involved improving access to foreign markets for Kenya’s traders and investors.
CS Mohamed said the country has made remarkable progress in its agenda of economic diplomacy through negotiating and signing a wide range of trade and investments agreements as well as agreements and MoUs for co-operation with various countries across the globe.
She said in order to make impact in the global arena and to take care of its interests, engagement by Government seen through state/official visits is mandatory especially for a country like Kenya that has unique global status.
Our core priorities include enhancing Kenya’s competitiveness and economic prosperity; promoting regional integration; enhancing regional peace and security; promoting multilateralism; and protecting the interests of Kenyans abroad.
She said her Ministry strategies of executing the Foreign Policy include strengthening bilateral relations with traditional and emerging geo-strategic partners; boosting our Foreign Policy agenda in Africa; enhancing security sector partnerships; and growing Diaspora capacity to support national development.
She said an important consequence of globalization and the information revolution has been the unprecedented heightening of competition for economic opportunities.
With the heightened competition for economic opportunities, countries that are not competitive risk being severely marginalized.
She said globalization has been intensified by the revolution in information and communications technology (ICT) which has greatly improved availability of information while compressing time and space.
Present during the Lecture were Prof E. Njeru, the Principal, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Dr R. Ocharo, the Chair, Department of Sociology and Ken Ouko, Department of Sociology.