NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Kenya and the United States have signed a revitalized Security Governance Joint Country Action Plan in a bid to boost cooperation on governance, anti-corruption, and civilian security.
The revamped pact was inked on Wednesday at the end of a two-day inaugural Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD), an annual forum set up following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Washington DC last August.
A joint statement released by the Department of State indicated the two countries had also agreed to work closely on counter-terrorism through partnerships in defense, maritime surveillance, and intelligence sharing.
“The United States and Kenya signed an updated Security Governance Joint Country Action Plan to enhance bilateral cooperation on civilian security, governance, and anti-corruption efforts,” an emailed communiqué read in part.
The Kenyan delegation comprising of Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, Fred Matiangi (Interior Affairs), Political and Diplomatic Ambassador Tom Omollo, and Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo assured the United States of Kenya’s commitment to the United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.
“The United States welcomed Kenya’s commitment to register all refugees and will work with Kenya to fulfill its commitments to ensure refugees have access to healthcare, education, and livelihoods,” the Department of State noted.
The two counties reviewed the ongoing anti-terrorism campaign in the horn of Africa, Kenya vowing sustained efforts to win the war against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The United States committed to upscaling maritime surveillance, intelligence sharing, and capacity building to degrade the capability of the terrorist group.
“The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to degrade Al-Shabaab and agreed to work with UN Security Council partners to sanction Al-Shabaab and other terror groups operating in the Horn of Africa.”
Kenya also lobbied for enhanced trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with subsequent talks set to focus on expansion cargo opportunities under the US-Kenya open skies accord.
A joint Trade and Investment Working Group met in Washington DC in April to explore avenues of future bilateral trade and investment framework.
CS Juma and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan had Tuesday signed a Bilateral Strategic Dialogue Framework activating elevated bilateral relations between Kenya and the United States following the establishment of inter-country dialogue by President Donald Trump and Kenyatta when they met at the While House on August 27, last year.
Sullivan lauded the framework as a launch pad to stronger trade and security relations between the two nations.
“We see the inaugural BSD which is a key deliverable from the August 27 meeting as proof that the United States and Kenya are prepared to do the hard but rewarding work to build our relationship to a much higher and stronger level,” he said.
Sullivan said both countries were keen on the finalization of infrastructure deals as well as a stronger security cooperation framework that will secure economic growth.
“US and Kenyan teams discussed ways to discuss our joint goals under the BSD’s four pillars: economic prosperity, trade, and investment, defense cooperation, democracy, governance and civilian security, and multilateral and regional issues,” Sullivan noted.
“Finalizing key infrastructure deals, deepening our security cooperation and enhancing civilian security and governance assistance are just a few of the topics BSD addresses,” he added.
Deals under consideration include a United States private sector infrastructure development in the telecommunications sector, “including modernizing the Kenyan government’s telecommunications network.”
According to the Department of State, Kenya has committed to continue discussions on a proposed private sector development.
Juma underscored the government’s resolve to expanding investment opportunities saying Kenyatta’s administration was committed to ensuring Kenya and the region is safe for investors.
“This ambitious trade and investment portfolio must be able to help build the wealth for our people. It must create more jobs, decent living, and contribute to the prosperity of ourselves and the world,” the CS said.
Next year’s Bilateral Strategic Dialogue will be held in Nairobi.