Kenya to use US-Africa Leaders summit to strengthen economic, security ties

By PSCU

The Government will use the upcoming US-Africa Leaders Summit to strengthen its economic and security partnership with the US government.

The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amb Amina Mohamd Saturday said that President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead a powerful delegation to participate in the summit events that start on August 4.

She said the partnership between Kenya and the US has been working well, contrary to assertions and the new dynamics of the world.

“Our partnership with the US is working but for every relationship it has to be nurtured. There are a lot of dynamics, for instance our partnership never used to deal with terrorism in the past,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary revealed that Kenya is among three African countries invited for a separate meeting during the summit.

“Kenya is among a few African countries invited for a reverse visit with energy companies from the 30th to August 2 in Houston,” she said.

She said this meeting will be used to explore how US energy giants can invest in Kenya after newly discovered oil deposits.

The issue of terrorism and its effects on Africa will feature prominently during the summit, she said.

Issues Kenya will discuss with the US in relation to terrorism include the continued sharing of intelligence, capacity building, provision of technology and equipment.

“We will also seek the support of the US government in stabilizing neighbouring countries like Somalia and South Sudan,” she said.

Amb Amina, who addressed the press in her office, downplayed the effect of travel advisories issued by countries including the US against some parts of Kenya.

She said even though the US, UK, and Australia issued travel advisories against parts of Kenya, it has not affected investor interest in Kenya.

“We still export goods worth Ksh 30 billion to the US, we still export our flowers to Europe, and we just floated the Eurobond which was oversubscribed by 500 per cent. 66 per cent of the buyers were US citizens,” she said.

The enthusiasm of US investors in the Kenyan economy was reinforced by the fact that many CEOs of American companies want to meet President Kenyatta on the sidelines of the summit, she said.

“Many CEOs of US companies will hold one-on-one meetings with President Kenyatta. This includes the CEOs of Microsoft, Pfizer, Cocacola and other companies that are interested in Kenyan business,” she said.

Besides security, drawing investments from the US is a key area of focus for the Government.

She said part of the issues that would be on the table is the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) through which Kenya exports goods worth more than KSh 30 billion annually.

On the issue of why President Barrack Obama will not hold one-on-one meetings with African Presidents, she said it was not possible given that there are 47 Heads of State.

She also downplayed the claims that Kenya has turned to China, away from its traditional allies like the US.

“Before anyone accuses us of looking east or south look at the trade figures,” she said.