, VIENNA, Austria Dec 18 – Wildlife conservation, renewable energy development and curriculum reforms were top of the agenda when President Uhuru Kenyatta held talks today with his host, Alexander van Bellen, the President of Austria, on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa-EU high level forum in Vienna.
During the talks at the Hofburg Presidential Palace, the two Heads of State discussed a wide range of areas of mutual interest to the two countries among them wildlife conservation, Kenya’s exploits in the development of geothermal energy and the ongoing reforms of the education curriculum.
At the meeting, President Kenyatta received a geospatial map of Kenya’s wildlife resources from his Austrian counterpart. The topographical map was jointly developed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the University of Innsbruck.
President Kenyatta thanked President Bellen, the Government of Austria and the University for the support in developing the map which he said will enhance Kenya’s wildlife surveillance and conservation efforts.
While underscoring the need to conserve wildlife resources for the prosperity of current and future generations, President Kenyatta called on the Austrian government to back Kenya’s push for the total abolishment of trophy markets which he said fuels the rampant destruction of precious wildlife species especially on the African continent.
“We are grateful for the support given to the Kenya Wildlife Service by the University of Innsbruck in the development of this important topographical map of our wildlife resources. This tool will go along way in boosting our conservation efforts,” President Kenyatta said.
President Bellen applauded Kenya’s growing reputation as a renewable energy powerhouse in Africa pointing out that the country’s push towards full transition to renewable sources of electricity by 2020 was commendable.
The Austrian Head of State was particularly impressed by Kenya’s pioneering role in Africa and progress made by the East African country in the development of geothermal power sources.
“Kenya has distinguished herself as a leader in renewable energy development not only in Africa but in the whole world. Kenya has done particularly well in the tapping of geothermal and solar energy sources,” President Bellen observed.
“The recent launch of the 83.3 megawatt Olkaria geothermal power plant and the recently completed 310 megawatt Lake Turkana wind farm as well as the 54 megawatt Garissa solar plant are a demonstration that Kenya is serious about going green,” the Austrian leader added.
The two leaders also discussed Kenya’s ongoing review of the education curriculum on which President Bellen encouraged President Kenyatta to forge ahead saying that the reforms should yield an education system that meets the demands and fits into the trends of the current job market.
President Kenyatta invited President Bellen to visit Kenya in the course of the new year while the Austrian leader extended an invitation to President Kenyatta to attend a climate change conference scheduled for May next year in the Austrian capital.
Present at the meeting were Cabinet Secretaries Amb. Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and Adan Mohamed (EAC and Regional Development), Kenya’s envoy to the EU Johnson Weru and Nilly Kanana, Charge D’Affaires at the Kenyan mission in Vienna.