, PARIS, France, Apr 4 – President Uhuru Kenyatta met his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Monday, the first State visit by a Kenyan leader to France in the past 14 years.
President Hollande said the European Union as a whole needs to support AMISOM’s fight in Somalia following an announcement that it would be cutting its funding to the troops in a couple of months.
“We have no choice but to work together because terrorists now know no borders… so why should we?” he posed at a press briefing following bilateral talks with President Kenyatta at the Presidential Palace on Monday evening.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had earlier told Capital FM News that the threatened cuts had been one of President Kenyatta’s motivations for visiting France.
Hollande said the two leaders had also agreed for their governments to collaborate in the area of education.
He said Kenyan aspiring craftsmen and technicians should be encouraged to pursue training in France and return home to build their country.
He added that France was also willing and eager to help combat corruption in Kenya by repatriating any stolen funds and by helping combat tax evasion and money laundering. “France didn’t do it alone and neither should you.”
Kenya walked away with Sh29 billion in grants and concessional loans divided up into five areas: Sh10 billion in a concessional loan and a Sh3 billion in a grant for the last mile connectivity project, Sh1.7 billion for roads, Sh7 billion in a non-sovereign loan for a wind farm in Meru, Sh3.8 billion for the East African Development Bank and Sh2 billion in financing for the Ruiru II Dam and water supply.
The two leaders also agreed that trade between their two countries could stand to be improved with Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala pointing out that tourist numbers from France to Kenya had been on the decline.
And to stem the tide, President Kenyatta is scheduled to meet French tourism stakeholders on Tuesday.