Kenya remains core to development of the African Continent, new President of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka has said.
Mr. Kitaoka said Kenya was on the right track on the implementation of development projects, which could transform the lives of its citizens and those in the region.
Kenya has received most of the development aid from Japan in the sub -Saharan Africa.
“We have and will continue to undertaken various development projects in the fields of health, infrastructure, energy and water among others in this country,” said Mr. Kitaoka.
He added: “Japan is keen to build on its investments sector in Kenya because of the country’s strategic position as gateway to African region.”
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen office on Monday, Mr. Kitaoka said Japan is partnering with Kenya to expand the Mombasa port, which is a key trade gateway to East Africa.
Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury), Adan Mohammed (Industrialization) and Japan deputy Ambassador to Kenya Mikio Mori were present among others.
Mr. Kitaoka listed of the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway, which links Kenya and other Africa countries, modernization of the Mombasa port and expansion of electricity production as some of the projects that can transform not only the lives of Kenyans but Africans at large.
“The support we are giving to this country in infrastructural development is a clear testimony of our cordial relations with Kenya,” he said.
He said the Mombasa port project would enhance container-handling capacity at the port noting that Japan is committed to helping Kenya implement port development projects.
Mr. Kitaoka added: “The Japanese support of infrastructural development of Mombasa port will facilitate trade and economic development in Kenya and entire region.”
The JICA President said Japan was also taking a leading role in the development of green energy production in the country citing the recent completion of the 280-megawatt Olkaria IV Geothermal power plant.
Japan has set up the first fertilizer factory in the country to address challenges facing farmers in the country.
“The construction of the multi-billion fertilizer factory in Uasin-Gishu by the Japanese company Toyota Tsusho will go a long way in ensuring timely and affordable fertilizers to farmers upon its completion,” he said.
Plans are underway for Japan through Toyota Tsusho to start a vehicle assembling plant in the country.
Mr. Ruto lauded robust economic partnerships between Kenya and Japan.
The Deputy President said the two countries will continue to pursue an inclusive growth agenda that effectively puts the people at the centre of development.
Mr. Ruto observed that Japan has offered immense support to Kenya in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and water among other sectors through JICA.
“We appreciate the support you are giving us in the development of infrastructure as in the case of the construction work on Mombasa port and your plans to fund the construction of Leseru road to link the Kitale-Lodwar-Nadapal road,” said Mr. Ruto.
He thanked Japan for decades of steadfast support and contribution to Kenya’s development efforts.
The Deputy President said Kenya has a lot in terms of investment opportunities and urged Japan to take advantage of such situations to do more businesses in the country.
He said Kenya was prepared to host the Tokyo International conference on Africa Development (TICAD) set for next year.
The Deputy President asked JICA to concentrate on innovative, science and technology and human capital development to increase the skills and knowledge productivity for Kenyans.
Mr. Rotich urged Japanese businesspeople to explore investing in the industrial sector, which was still untapped.