EAC Lake Victoria Rescue Efforts Hailed

By Andrew Kuria

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of East Africa Community Affairs Division Amb. Ruth Solitei has hailed the Commission’s rescue efforts at the Lake Victoria.

Speaking when she received Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Executive Secretary Dr. Ally-Said Matano who paid her a courtesy call on Tuesday 28, September 2016, Amb. Solitei said the Government of Kenya will assist the Commission in every way to achieve its full potential.

Dr. Matano updated her on the Commissions’ activities with a view of seeking support in Diplomatic issues and strengthening working relations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commission.

The East African Community established the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) in 2001 as a mechanism for coordinating the various interventions on the lake and its basin and serve as a centre for promotion of investments and information sharing among the various stakeholders. The LVBC is headquartered in Kisumu and is the only EAC organization based in Kenya.

Dr. Matano highlighted how Kenya lobbied for the LVBC’s Headquarter Agreement and underscored the need for assistance in resource mobilization to construct offices on the 2.8 hectare land the Government of Kenya donated. He sought the Ministry’s support in LVBC’s publicity with diplomatic missions based in Kenya and the Kenyan public.

Dr. Matano was accompanied by Principal Administrative Officer Milcent A. Opiyo during the courtesy call.

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Kenya Deposits Instruments for EPAs Ratification

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE DEPOSITION OF INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY-EUROPEAN UNION ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

The Government of Kenya through the Kenya Mission to the European Union in Brussels yesterday deposited with the European Union (EU) the instruments of ratification of the East African Community-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EAC-EU EPA) at the agreements section of the EU Council.

The EAC-EU EPA was ratified by the Parliament of Kenya on September 20, 2016.  The handing over ceremony was witnessed by Mme Alda SILVEIRA REIS, Director of DG Trade, Development, Horizontal Issues & Foreign Affairs Council among other senior EU Officials .

With the ratification of the Agreement, Kenya will continue to benefit from EC Market Access Regulation No 1528/2007 which governs the EU preferential market access regime for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries that have negotiated Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU.

Negotiations of the EAC-EU EPA were concluded by both sides and the text initialed on October 14, 2014. The agreement covers trade in goods and development cooperation. It also contains extensive chapters on agriculture, fisheries and economic and development cooperation.

The agreement provides duty- and quota-free access for Kenyan and EAC products to the EU market. It also creates new regional opportunities through more flexible rules of origin and cumulation framework. It guarantees that the EU will not apply export subsidies on products destined for the EAC market. Through the Agreement the EAC has committed to liberalise the equivalent of 82.6% of imports from the EU by value. The remainder will be progressively liberalised within 15 years from the moment the EPA enters into force.

The Agreement has inbuilt safeguards on various sensitive products. For instance, the Agreement excludes from liberalisation various agricultural products (dairy products, fruits and vegetables, fish, wines and spirits, chemicals, plastics, wood based paper, textiles and clothing, footwear, ceramic products, glassware, articles of base metal and vehicles).

The Agreement sets up an EPA Council that will address implementation issues. It will be reviewed every five years taking into account the experience acquired in its implementation.

Brussels September 28, 2016

 

Speech by Amb Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs During the 15th AGOA Forum in Washington DC

SPEECH BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE 15TH AGOA FORUM, WASHINGTON D.C., USA, SEPTEMBER 22-26, 2016

Ambassador Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative,

Fellow Colleagues, Honorable Ministers from AGOA Beneficiary Countries,

Excellencies Ambassadors,

Heads of Delegation,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank my Co-chair, Ambassador Michael Froman, and all of you Honorable Ministers, for giving me this opportunity to moderate this very important session on ‘AGOA: Taking stock of where we are and looking forward.’

Since its inception, AGOA has been the cornerstone of US and Sub-Saharan Africa trade and economic partnership. We have nurtured this partnership together over the last 16 years; a period in which we have achieved tremendous progress in promoting trade and investment between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Combined two-way trade between the United States and AGOA-eligible Sub-Saharan African countries has doubled between 2001 and 2014. As will be recalled, peak trade flows were recorded in 2008, valued at almost $100 billion, before dipping following the global financial crisis.  In 2014, two-way trade was worth $50 billion, with AGOA eligible countries recording a trade surplus with the United States.

Last year, total Sub-Saharan exports to the US amounted to about 19 billion US Dollars against imports of 18 billion US dollars. Additionally, overall U.S. investment in Sub-Saharan Africa stood at 34.4 US billion dollars in 2014, a substantial increase compared to 9 billion dollars in 2001.

While this is commendable progress, a great deal more can be accomplished moving forward. This becomes clearer when we consider that the total share of Sub-Saharan exports to the US market was only 0.8% in 2015. Moreover, the $50 billion worth of combined two-way goods trade for 2014 between UUS and AGOA eligible countries compares with $61 billion for 2013 and $66 billion for 2012. I believe this is a good opportunity to interrogate this trend with a view to growing our trade relations moving forward.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A lot has been done to address the challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa countries in accessing the US market. Most notable efforts in this direction include the USAID-led capacity building and technical assistance that has been targeted at addressing supply side constraints and productive capacities. At the same time, bold trade and investment reforms as well as investments in infrastructure and energy have been undertaken at the national level to enhance trade facilitation and reduce the cost of doing business.

Furthermore, National Response Strategies have today become an important implementation tool and are now being widely employed by beneficiary countries to put in place specific and targeted action plans for effective utilization of AGOA. The East African Community, for example, has developed a regional AGOA strategy which is now earmarked for implementation.  Cumulatively, these efforts have enabled the private sector to play a more active role in taking advantage of AGOA.

The ten year renewal of AGOA by the US Congress has revitalized the collective will to fully utilize the opportunities created by AGOA.  This is the longest ever extension and provides the certainty Sub-Saharan Africa producers as well as U.S. investors need to make investment plans. The extension has also availed ample lead time for investors to recoup their investments and consolidate the gains made so far. We need to double our efforts to make the best of the extension in light of existing and unfolding global dynamics. The suitability of the theme of this year’s AGOA Forum “Maximizing AGOA now to prepare for the future beyond AGOA,’ cannot therefore be overstated.

Distinguished Participants,

As we undertake an assessment of AGOA achievements and take stock of where we are, it is important that we identify the building blocks that will transcend beyond the expiry of AGOA. The 2015 AGOA Act provides for enhanced eligibility obligations for beneficiary countries covering a broad range of policy issues. Key areas of focus include the requirement to implement our commitments in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, suspension or termination of AGOA, Out of Cycle Reviews and the intention to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements. We should have an open dialogue on these issues and agree on a mechanism of resolving attendant challenges in order to avoid trade disruption or other repercussions.

On this note, therefore, I want to emphasize that it is in our interest to ensure that the AGOA initiative realizes the intended objectives of deepening and expanding trade and investment between the two regions. We must take effective steps to address the challenges that impede our ability to exploit the huge market access offered by AGOA. In this respect, our focus for the next few years should be on implementation of the national response strategies as well as enhanced capacity building to ensure full utilization of AGOA.

It is my view that in the lead up to the expiry of AGOA in 2025, we need a frank and open discussion on our expectations. In particular, we need candid discussions on how to translate the current partnership into a permanent and sustainable framework that reflects emerging global developments and safeguards the existing market access and investments under AGOA. Our consultations should also take into account the ongoing initiatives of deepening regional integration in Africa and how the AGOA partnership with the US can support and benefit from these noble initiatives.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are expanding our markets and opportunities and minimizing our risks, and in some cases de-risking completely. We are addressing our challenges head on, building our capacities and understanding our situation much better.

We need partners that also understand Africa, that are ready to work and prosper with us. There is no doubt in my mind that with the right partners the potential is immense. The growth we have seen so far is only a glimpse of what is possible.

Thank you Michael Froman for laying the options bare for us to see and to study. This is part of a larger conversation that we must have with African Governments, with our private sector, with our farmers, with our civil society and in fact, with societies at large.

That we must take this partnership to a higher, more stable, more predictable level is not the question. The question will always be what formula we use and how to make the relationship equitable.

We have good lead time and it is a fact, ladies and gentlemen, that to be fore warned is to be fore armed and therefore we must get down to work and come up with a blueprint that is customized to and for Africa.

I wish you every success in your deliberations and thank you again for this opportunity to share my thoughts.

With these remarks, I once again thank my co-chair and now open the floor for your inputs and comments on this agenda item.

Thank you

AGOA: CS Amina Calls for Sustainable Framework that Reflects Emerging Global Developments

SPEECH BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE 15TH AGOA FORUM, WASHINGTON D.C., USA, SEPTEMBER 22-26, 2016

Ambassador Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative,

Fellow Colleagues, Honorable Ministers from AGOA Beneficiary Countries,

Excellencies Ambassadors,

Heads of Delegation,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank my Co-chair, Ambassador Michael Froman, and all of you Honorable Ministers, for giving me this opportunity to moderate this very important session on ‘AGOA: Taking stock of where we are and looking forward.’

Since its inception, AGOA has been the cornerstone of US and Sub-Saharan Africa trade and economic partnership. We have nurtured this partnership together over the last 16 years; a period in which we have achieved tremendous progress in promoting trade and investment between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Combined two-way trade between the United States and AGOA-eligible Sub-Saharan African countries has doubled between 2001 and 2014. As will be recalled, peak trade flows were recorded in 2008, valued at almost $100 billion, before dipping following the global financial crisis.  In 2014, two-way trade was worth $50 billion, with AGOA eligible countries recording a trade surplus with the United States.

Last year, total Sub-Saharan exports to the US amounted to about 19 billion US Dollars against imports of 18 billion US dollars. Additionally, overall U.S. investment in Sub-Saharan Africa stood at 34.4 US billion dollars in 2014, a substantial increase compared to 9 billion dollars in 2001.

While this is commendable progress, a great deal more can be accomplished moving forward. This becomes clearer when we consider that the total share of Sub-Saharan exports to the US market was only 0.8% in 2015. Moreover, the $50 billion worth of combined two-way goods trade for 2014 between UUS and AGOA eligible countries compares with $61 billion for 2013 and $66 billion for 2012. I believe this is a good opportunity to interrogate this trend with a view to growing our trade relations moving forward.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A lot has been done to address the challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa countries in accessing the US market. Most notable efforts in this direction include the USAID-led capacity building and technical assistance that has been targeted at addressing supply side constraints and productive capacities. At the same time, bold trade and investment reforms as well as investments in infrastructure and energy have been undertaken at the national level to enhance trade facilitation and reduce the cost of doing business.

Furthermore, National Response Strategies have today become an important implementation tool and are now being widely employed by beneficiary countries to put in place specific and targeted action plans for effective utilization of AGOA. The East African Community, for example, has developed a regional AGOA strategy which is now earmarked for implementation.  Cumulatively, these efforts have enabled the private sector to play a more active role in taking advantage of AGOA.

The ten year renewal of AGOA by the US Congress has revitalized the collective will to fully utilize the opportunities created by AGOA.  This is the longest ever extension and provides the certainty Sub-Saharan Africa producers as well as U.S. investors need to make investment plans. The extension has also availed ample lead time for investors to recoup their investments and consolidate the gains made so far. We need to double our efforts to make the best of the extension in light of existing and unfolding global dynamics. The suitability of the theme of this year’s AGOA Forum “Maximizing AGOA now to prepare for the future beyond AGOA,’ cannot therefore be overstated.

Distinguished Participants,

As we undertake an assessment of AGOA achievements and take stock of where we are, it is important that we identify the building blocks that will transcend beyond the expiry of AGOA. The 2015 AGOA Act provides for enhanced eligibility obligations for beneficiary countries covering a broad range of policy issues. Key areas of focus include the requirement to implement our commitments in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, suspension or termination of AGOA, Out of Cycle Reviews and the intention to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements. We should have an open dialogue on these issues and agree on a mechanism of resolving attendant challenges in order to avoid trade disruption or other repercussions.

On this note, therefore, I want to emphasize that it is in our interest to ensure that the AGOA initiative realizes the intended objectives of deepening and expanding trade and investment between the two regions. We must take effective steps to address the challenges that impede our ability to exploit the huge market access offered by AGOA. In this respect, our focus for the next few years should be on implementation of the national response strategies as well as enhanced capacity building to ensure full utilization of AGOA.

It is my view that in the lead up to the expiry of AGOA in 2025, we need a frank and open discussion on our expectations. In particular, we need candid discussions on how to translate the current partnership into a permanent and sustainable framework that reflects emerging global developments and safeguards the existing market access and investments under AGOA. Our consultations should also take into account the ongoing initiatives of deepening regional integration in Africa and how the AGOA partnership with the US can support and benefit from these noble initiatives.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are expanding our markets and opportunities and minimizing our risks, and in some cases de-risking completely. We are addressing our challenges head on, building our capacities and understanding our situation much better.

We need partners that also understand Africa, that are ready to work and prosper with us. There is no doubt in my mind that with the right partners the potential is immense. The growth we have seen so far is only a glimpse of what is possible.

Thank you Michael Froman for laying the options bare for us to see and to study. This is part of a larger conversation that we must have with African Governments, with our private sector, with our farmers, with our civil society and in fact, with societies at large.

That we must take this partnership to a higher, more stable, more predictable level is not the question. The question will always be what formula we use and how to make the relationship equitable.

We have good lead time and it is a fact, ladies and gentlemen, that to be fore warned is to be fore armed and therefore we must get down to work and come up with a blueprint that is customized to and for Africa.

I wish you every success in your deliberations and thank you again for this opportunity to share my thoughts.

With these remarks, I once again thank my co-chair and now open the floor for your inputs and comments on this agenda item.

Thank you

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King Abdullah II of Jordan in Kenya on Official Visit

His Majesty Abdullah II Ibn AI Hussein, King of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was today morning received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Accompanying the President to receive the King were Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Hon. Maj Gen (Rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry,  and Kenya Defence Forces Generals and Service Commanders.

The King is on one day official visit and will attend a joint bilateral military exercise between The Royal Jordanian Armed Forces and Kenya Defence Forces. The King will later hold bilateral discussions with his host, President Kenyatta on security issues and counter-terrorism.

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Kenya Establishes Diplomatic Relations with St Kitts and Nevis

By Jane Kariuki

New York, USA, September 22, 2016, (MFA Press) – Kenya and St. Kitts and Nevis have signed a joint communiqué to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial.

The communiqué establishing the diplomatic relations was signed today by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed and her St. Kitts and Nevis counterpart, Mr. Mark Brantley.

During the signing ceremony on the sidelines of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Amb. Mohamed said Kenya looks forward to the negotiation and conclusion of a framework of cooperation with St. Kitts and Nevis.

“This is an important first step and we look forward to further engagements that will lay down a structured framework of cooperation between our two countries,” said Amb. Mohamed.

The signed communiqué seeks to deepen and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Kenya and St. Kitts and Nevis in the political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April, 18, 1961.

Prior to the engagement with St. Kitts and Nevis, Amb. Mohamed held bilateral talks with Tunisian Foreign Minister, Mr. Khemaies Jhinaoui at the UN headquarters, New York.

During the talks, the two ministers agreed to fast track necessary steps needed to revitalize bilateral relations between Kenya and Tunisia.

Jhinaoui stressed the commitment of the Government of Tunisia to solidify relations with Kenya, adding that Tunisia is keen on establishing diplomatic presence in Nairobi.

“The Government of Tunisia will be sending a fact finding mission to Kenya in a fortnight with a view to exploring modalities of opening an Embassy in Nairobi,” said Mr. Jhinaoui

Saying that Kenya was increasingly emerging as a diplomatic hub, Amb. Mohamed assured of Kenya’s readiness to support Tunisia in establishing an Embassy in Nairobi and in deepening relations between the two countries.

“We have a vibrant diplomatic and expatriate community in Nairobi. We look forward to receiving the Tunisian fact finding mission to Nairobi. We will provide the necessary facilitation and support required,” assured the CS.

The two Ministers also discussed the impact of travel advisories on sensitive sectors of the economies of the two countries, especially tourism, saying advisories have the un-intended effect of serving the agenda of terrorists.

“Travel advisories result in massive loss of jobs, rendering youth who lose jobs vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment into terrorist networks,” said Amb. Mohamed.

The two Ministers agreed to work towards forging a common front to counter the issuance of travel advisories.

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Invest in Conflict Prevention as in Peacekeeping, CS Amina urges UN

By Jane Kariuki

New York, USA, September 21, 2016, (MFA Press) – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed has called on UN member states to pay as much attention to conflict prevention mechanisms as they do to peacekeeping.

Speaking Wednesday during the Pledging Conference in support of the UN Peace-building Fund (PBF) in New York, Amb. Amina Mohamed said the PBF demonstrated its capacity in sustaining peace at short notice as exemplified in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Liberia.

“I urge UN member states and the UN Security Council to invest as much in conflict prevention mechanisms as in peace keeping, particularly in Africa where governance institutions are relatively weak,” said the CS.

She said despite its importance, PBF perennially faces a desperate funding shortfall and appealed to member states to contribute to the Fund to advance the agenda of conflict prevention.

“No voice is small nor any penny little in sustaining peace. We must all invest and co-own the agenda of sustaining peace,” the CS added.

The Peace-building Fund was set up by UN member states in 2006 to facilitate timely response to conflicts. It finances activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of conflicts.

The CS stressed on the importance of investing in early warning systems instead of reacting to outbreaks adding that placing more emphasis on conflict prevention means recognising the ‘primacy of politics’ in the specific settlement of disputes.

Amb. Mohamed hailed the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council for adopting, in April 2016, resolutions that introduced the principle of ‘sustaining peace’ which stresses the need for more investment in governance, security and development in the continuum of conflict prevention, management and resolution.

“In effect, the resolutions emphasized that peace can only be sustained through adequately financed initiatives in areas as diverse as strengthening the rule of law and security sector reforms, electoral reforms, human rights, economic and financial sector transformation, and promotion of dialogue and reconciliation,” said the CS.

As the chair of PBC, the CS said Kenya was working with UN Member States to ensure the PBC works in an effective manner in support of the UN peace-building efforts.

Citing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the CS said the the lack of predictable, adequate and sustainable funding risk undermining peacebuilding in various parts of the world.

The conference, which was co-hosted by Kenya, UK, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Somalia, Sri Lanka & Sweden was also attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

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DP Co-chairs Session on International Action and Co-operation on Refugees and Migrants

DP William Ruto co-chaired a session on International Action and Co-operation on Refugees and Migrants and issues related to displacement at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Kenya has played its role in ensuring there is peace in the East Africa region. It is incumbent on the international community to demonstrate solidarity with the regional efforts towards peace and tranquility. Our efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis must be tied to the universal aspiration to transform our world.

Ruto urged the UN to support Kenya’s decision to close the refugee camp and also disburse the funds it pledged for the exercise under the Tripartite Agreement between Kenya-Somalia-UNHCR signed on November 10, 2013.

 

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DP Ruto Represents President Kenyatta at UNGA71

71 years after founding the UN, the world has made great strides on freedom, health, democracy, education and human development.

Despite these remarkable strides, human progress is still constrained by a gamut of challenges: inequality within and between regions and nations, prosperity that does not translate into prosperity for all, poverty, violation of human rights, instability and growing environmental fragility. These momentous challenges call for collective effort by the community of nations.

Today, Africa’s global trade stands at three percent. This primarily consists of export of crude oil unprocessed minerals and raw agricultural produce.

Unless the trade imbalance is reversed, it will accentuate vulnerability, poverty, risk of insecurity and instability for Africa and the world. To overcome this, the challenges of inequality, poverty, adverse effects of climate change, human rights abuses must be dealt with to achieve the dream of an equal world. It is important that UN reforms be an integral part of strengthening the organisation’s footprints worldwide and gain legitimacy as it moves to resolve these pressing issues.

Kenya has been true to its international obligations in matters of security, peace building, housing refugees and fighting terrorism.

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