, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has embarked on the process of mapping the world for partnerships to leverage on the implementation of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said during her inaugural press briefing on Kenya’s foreign policy on Thursday that the ministry was seeking to deepen existing ties and create new partnerships in a bid to achieve the four-point agenda of food security, universal healthcare, decent housing and manufacturing.
She said the country was aiming to cast its net wider to create new economic alliances, in addition to the traditional allies.
“We’re conducting the global mapping exercise to establish the competitive advantage for services and secondly to identify partners who are able to work with our private sector as well as the government to deliver on this agenda at the optimal cost and within the shortest possible time,” she said.
The briefing was attended by top ministry officials including Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Principal Secretary (Foreign Affairs) Ambassador Macharia Kamau and Ambassador Tom Amolo, Political and Diplomatic Secretary.
Ambassador Juma said the realization of the Big Four Agenda will enhance living standards of all citizens even as the government seeks to grow the economy into a middle income.
“This agenda speaks to the concept of human security: ensuring that we don’t any of our people, especially the vulnerable and weak behind,” she said.
The actualization of the Big Four Agenda, CS Juma said, will not only catapult the country’s economic position to greater heights but also guarantee the social security of its citizens.
“The Big Four Agenda seeks to guarantee the freedom from indignity and vulnerability caused by the lack of basic needs and services namely; food, shelter, good health, jobs and empowerment,” she said.
The ambitious Big Four Agenda was announced by President Kenyatta in last year’s Jamhuri Day speech during which he promised to expand manufacturing and deliver half a million new decent houses.
The Head of State particularly expressed concern with the local processing industry which remains hugely undeveloped.
Presently, 70 per cent of goods exported are processed abroad leaving a paltry thirty per cent for local processing.
President Kenyatta noted in his speech at the time that most job opportunities would be created if the huge gap in local processing of exports is narrowed.
While presiding over the swearing-in of his second-term Cabinet last month, President Kenyatta specifically instructed his Cabinet Secretaries to work in concert in ensuring that the Big Four Agenda is realized.
Speaking on Tuesday at the newly unveiled technology innovative centre I-Hub, where he opened the Africa-France Business Forum and launched an Afro centric youth entrepreneurship and innovation programme, President Kenyatta called for a win-win partnership between the government and foreign investors to enhance economic growth.
“I have given priority to four key areas to spur economic growth, create jobs for our young people and improve the quality of life of our people over the next five years,” he said.
According to President Kenyatta, expansion of local manufacturing will boost its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product from the current nine per cent to at least fifteen per cent.
In her briefing on Thursday, Ambassador Juma said Kenya’s foreign policy will be driven by the fast-changing global environment and demand for the country’s leadership both in the region and the continent.
She also underscored the importance of forging stronger relations with East African Community peers and countries in the continent at large to enhance trade.
The CS said Kenya will intensify talks with all African States with a view to promoting infrastructural projects with the sole purpose of strengthening intra-trade within the African continent.