Home General Uhuru’s foreign trips good for Kenya, says CS Monica Juma

Uhuru’s foreign trips good for Kenya, says CS Monica Juma

by kenya-tribune
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The Foreign Affairs ministry has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s foreign trips saying they have helped project Kenya’s image globally and to promote the country as an investment destination of choice.

Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma revealed on Wednesday that the president has made 49 foreign trips since 2013, all of which she said have helped consolidate Kenya’s relevance internationally.

“Looking back to the last six years, I can confidently confirm that the high-level diplomacy paradigm has yielded manifold outcomes in three broad spheres; Kenya has established solid and productive relationships across the world – in Africa, Middle East, Americas, Europe, Asia and the other parts of the world,” Juma said.

She added: “Nairobi has become one of the most visited capitals for foreign heads of state and heads of government and preferred destination for international meetings and conferences, and most fundamentally, interest and investment in our country has grown a thousand fold – translating into economic growth.”

Juma spoke while presenting the ministry’s third quarterly press briefing at a Nairobi hotel. The presentation focused on Kenya’s strategy of leveraging its national interests on high-level diplomacy.

The CS revealed that this year alone, the President has had six high-level foreign trips that were aimed at fostering engagements that support the economy particularly the Big 4 agenda, social development; as well as regional peace and security.

Among the visits, she said, was the one to Cuba between March 14 and 17 that saw the president strike a deal for the deployment of 100 Cuban medical specialists to Kenya’s public health facilities.

The deal also saw 50 Kenyan medical practitioners travel to Cuba for post-postgraduate training.

Other notable foreign trip that Uhuru has made this year is the one to the US between August 24 – 27 where he struck two business deals worth Sh23.7 billion.

The deal, which largely factors investments in security, was reached after a meeting with US president Donald Trump at the warehouse.

Also read: Uhuru holds talks with top US business executives

The agreement was signed between the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and two private firms for financing the construction and operation of Kipeto Wind Farm.

The project will deliver 100 MW grid connected wind power plant in Kajiado County at a cost of Sh23.2 billion.

The remaining Sh500 million was committed towards expansion of Twiga Food distribution network with the aim of improving food security and wages for agricultural workers.

Chinese partnership 

Uhuru’s most recent foreign trip that ignited public debate about Kenya’s dalliance with Chinese loans was the trip to Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

See: Uhuru secures $3.59 billion more from China to extend SGR to Kisumu

During the trip, Uhuru secured Public Private Partnership for two infrastructural projects – a 30 km expressway from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Westlands and the Development of Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones in Mombasa.

Kenya also secured a deal to benefit from Sh6 trillion announced by President Xi Jinping to support development in Africa as well as Sh1 trillion Chinese Private Sector investment in Africa, among others.

“Besides the specifics outlined above, the engagements offered the opportunities for closer bilateral collaboration with the countries involved in line with the aspirations of the Kenya’s Foreign Policy as Kenya strives to entrench her leadership as an economic power within the region as well as achieve a desirable competitiveness globally,” CS Juma said.

The CS further revealed that Kenya has also been a participant in more than ten high level summits this year alone which generated substantial value to the gross national output.

They include the 19th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Uganda in February, the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda held in March, the 20th COMESA Summit in Lusaka Zambia held in July and the AU Summit held in Addis Ababa in September.

Promoted Kenya’s export trade

Juma noted that as a result of Kenya’s growing foreign economic partnerships, Kenya’s exports have been on a gradual increase.

The CS noted that Kenya’s foreign exports across the world grew by 3.8 per cent to Sh5.7 trillion between 2013 and 2017 and registered almost one per cent growth between 2016 and 2017.

“From a continental perspective, almost 34 per cent of Kenya’s, exports by value were to other African countries with about 28 per cent to Europe and over 10 per cent to the Americas,” Juma said.

She said the leading export earners were tea, horticulture, articles of apparel and clothing accessories; and coffee.

These, she said, collectively accounted for 54.6 per cent of the total export merchandise.

Other than trade and promoting Kenya’s global status, Juma said that Uhuru’s foreign trips have also helped to promote peace diplomacy in troubled neighbouring countries like Somalia, South Sudan, and helped combat terrorism and violent extremism.

“This has translated into spurring global interest in claiming our rightful position as a gateway to East, Central and Southern Africa,” Juma said.

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