Kenya Happy to Host UN Headquarters in Nairobi

Kenya is honoured and privileged to host the only UN Headquarter office in the developing world.

The United Nations General Assembly has agreed to allocate nearly US$ 70 million for the rehabilitation of the A-J Buildings at the UNON offices that were built in the 1970s which are now dilapidated and inadequate. This decision was partially arrived at after Kenya lobbied in the Fifth Committee, and by mobilising other developing countries to ensure that the UN Office in Nairobi’s image is upheld.

Kenya is grateful for this decision by the UN. The country is also open to discussions with the UN on how best it could facilitate the implementation of this important project. Kenya hopes that materials and expertise that are available locally will be sourced locally to support the local economy to fulfil this much-desired goal.

Host Country Issues

 Kenya is ready to continue working with UNON to address various host country issues raised by UNON and which the government is looking into. These include:

  1. Request for refund of the Railway Development Levy
  2. Request for refund of Fuel Tax levy

Global Services Delivery Model

Kenya hopes that ongoing reforms in the United Nations under what is referred to as the “Secretary General’s Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM)” will not lead to the downgrading of the UN office in Nairobi.

Kenya believes UNON is well placed to handle more UN responsibilities according to the criteria being considered in the Global Service Delivery Model which includes:

  • Host Country relations,
  • Development of infrastructure
  • Availability of medical and school facilities

Kenya expresses its readiness to engage the UN on this and other related issues.

UNEA Meetings in Nairobi

Kenya is proud of the three successful United Nations Environmental Assembly meetings – UNEA-1 (2014), UNEA-2 (2016) and UNEA-3 (2017). The country will continue to support UNEP to ensure it discharges its mandate efficiently and effectively.

Consolidation of Headquarter Functions in Nairobi

Kenya continues to call upon UNEP to work towards the consolidation of its headquarter functions in line with paragraph 88 of the outcome of the Rio+ 20. This paragraph called for the allocation of more resources to UNEP and progressive consolidation of its functions at the Nairobi office. Since then, more resources have been allocated to UNEP, however, its functions are still scattered all over the world.

Blue Economy Conference, 2018 and the Oceans 2020 Conference

Kenya will later this year host the Blue Economy Conference as well as the Ministerial Preparatory Meeting in 2019 for the Oceans 2020 Conference. This is in line with H.E. the President’s desire to fully exploit the Blue Economy as a means to ensuring stability and shared prosperity, not only in our region but also for the greater international community.

In this regard, Kenya welcomes the partnership of the UN family in making these two important conferences a success.

UN-HABITAT

Over the last few years, the agency has experienced fundamental challenges; both systemic and managerial. Questions of accountability and transparency within UN-Habitat have been a serious concern for the Member States.

Our assessment is that UN-Habitat must be strengthened and rapidly stabilised. To achieve this, the United Nations must provide additional, adequate and predictable financial resources from the UN regular budget.

What is needed today is a strong institution that can be financially supported to deliver on its core mandate. It is important that UN-Habitat remains the focal point for promoting sustainable urbanization and human settlements within the UN System as well as coordinate all relevant actors in this regard.

Kenya is fully aware that the ongoing reforms of the UN development system will impact on UN-Habitat work. While we support the reforms, we attach great importance to the central role the organization will play in delivering Sustainable Development Goal 11 (make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and the New Urban Agenda.  I believe the reforms should, therefore, focus on streamlining and strengthening the agency’s operations.

Kenya’s continued support to UN-Habitat seeks to ensure it is fit for purpose and is able to deliver quickly, efficiently and effectively on the ground.

REFUGEES (UNHCR) & MIGRANTS (IOM)

The question of refugees and migrants remains a key global issue which is at the top of the agenda for the United Nations in 2018.

The parallel process of the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations for the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, taking place in Geneva and New York, respectively, are in tandem with the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2016.

Kenya is actively engaged in both negotiations given the importance of the two issues to our Government and our unwavering commitment to addressing the refugee situation in the region, as well as to the promotion of the free movement of persons.

We have undertaken inter-governmental consultations under the National Committee of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the National Coordination Mechanism for Migration (NCM) to generate inputs for use during the two processes. While a ‘whole-of-society’ approach is encouraged; the Government takes the lead on these processes.

Burden and responsibility sharing remains of utmost importance in addressing the refugee situation, particularly, protracted ones. While there is now a push to embrace development approaches in addressing refugee situations, caution must be exercised to ensure that an undue load is not placed on refugee-hosting states.

Additionally, we note with concern the severe challenge that third country resettlement is facing due to the nationalistic policies of some governments. The reduction in funding to IOM, through the United States Resettlement Programme (USRAP) has led to the decline by 92 percent of the resettlement admissions from Kenya for the year 2018; from about 4,000 to a maximum capacity of 500. Plans are underway to close the IOM sub-office in Daadab by May 31, 2018 and subsequently release staff working in the office. IOM will also look for alternative and cost-effective options for its Transit Centre.

In order to avoid tension with the locals working at the sub-office, we need to work closely to ensure that the locals understand the larger context within which the offices will be closed.

The Government’s position on the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp is still in force. Kenya remains steadfast in advocating for the creation of conducive conditions within Somalia to ensure the sustainable voluntary repatriation of refugees, in safety and in dignity.

UN WOMEN

The Government appreciates the role UN Women is playing in partnership with the Council of Governors in the execution of the project on the Effective Implementation of Gender Functions at the County level.

The forthcoming Session of the Commission on the Status of Women meeting is due to take place in New York next month under the theme of the Session “Challenges and opportunities in achieving equality and empowerment of rural women and girls” resonates with the government’s focus on the big four priority areas on achieving affordable health care, food security and housing and manufacturing. These four priority areas will be easily achievable if rural women and girls are empowered.

OTHER MULTILATERAL ISSUES

UN Security Council

Kenya has presented its candidature for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2021-2022 at the elections to be held during the 74th Session of United Nations General Assembly to be held in June 2020 in New York.

Kenya recognises the critical role of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the maintenance of global peace and is actively engaged in global and regional efforts for the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolutions including through mediation in line with the principles and objectives of the United Nations. Kenya has served twice as a Non-Permanent member of the UNSC in 1973-1974 and 1997–1998.

Kenya believes that peace and security, development, and human rights are mutually reinforcing issues that need to be addressed comprehensively and concurrently. Kenya pledges to be a bridge and consensus builder between permanent and non-permanent members of the council and members of the African Union towards the achievement of the common goals of world peace, prosperity, and protection of human rights.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Kenya is seeking membership of ECOSOC for the term 2019-2021 at the elections to be held in June 2018 in New York.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

 Kenya is seeking re-election to the Council of ITU at the elections to be held during the Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates between 29th October and 16th November 2018.

ICT development in Kenya has evolved rapidly in recent years. Kenya has built a global reputation, both in ICT services and content, and has distinguished herself as a reliable partner in safeguarding digital transformation.

Lack of Synergy between UN Institutions and Regional Organisations

The ICGLR was established as the fulcrum for peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region. However, the office of the UN Envoy for the Great Lakes Region has increasingly played a duplicating role to the ICGLR thereby denying the Member States the ownership of the process of pacifying the Region.

Moreover, there is inadequate coordination between the office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the ICGLR Secretariat. This is possibly for the reason that the Special Envoy reports to the UN Secretary-General while the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR reports to the ICGLR Member States. Where the two institutions hold contrary views on sensitive issues, the UN Special Envoy reverts to the UN Security Council which is a bigger platform to amplify its views. A good example was the longstanding issue of the cooperation between the UN peacekeeping force in eastern DRC, MONUSCO, and the Armed Forces of DRC (FARDC) in fighting the FDLR rebel group.

While the ICGLR was eager to have a united front in the fight against the rebel group, the UN had withdrawn MONUSCO’s cooperation with DRC Armed Forces citing the appointment of army commanders who were alleged to have violated human rights. On the other hand, the ICGLR is at times unable to implement its decisions due to concerns surrounding respect for the sovereignty of Member States.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communication and engagements including facilitation of visits to all government institutions must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction, requests to visit Counties should be sent at least 10 days prior to the travel date to allow for time for effective coordination.

Statement presented by Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma to top officials of United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) on February 27, 2018

Europe Remains Reliable, Valued Partner for Kenya

Europe remains a reliable and valued partner for Kenya. I plan to undertake visits to a number of countries in the region starting with the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.

Bilateral relations between Kenya and European Countries have been enhanced as evidenced by the exchange of high-level visits, both to Nairobi and to European Capitals. H.E. the President has had successful visits to Turkey, France, Germany, UK, Russia, Italy, and Belgium.

We have exchanged other high-level visits at Head of State, Ministerial and Principal Secretary levels with a majority of European countries and the European Union. It is our intention to work towards more high-level visits in future to take advantage of this momentum and forge close and beneficial relationships with European countries.

Big Four Agenda

During his inaugural address, the President highlighted projects four key priorities of his government, namely: Food Security, Affordable Housing, Manufacturing, and Affordable Healthcare for all as part of his legacy.

In the manufacturing sector, the President emphasized the need to invest in value addition to enhance our competitiveness and fingered four key subsectors, namely the Blue Economy, Agro-Processing, Leather and Textiles. Aware of the need for the right environment for manufacturing, he announced deliberate efforts to lower the cost of doing business across the country, while enhancing skilled manpower and building on the foundations and progress made in key sectors which include transport, energy, education and ICT.

In relation to conversations on access to affordable and decent shelter, the President reiterated his vision of up-scaling homeownership to more than, 500,000 Kenyans. This strategy will involve facilitating provision of affordable mortgage facilities, reducing overhead construction costs, and enhancing private and public sector investment in large-scale housing construction.

On provision of universal healthcare, H.E the President made a projection of to ensure access to quality and affordable medical cover by 2022. That plan will, of necessity, require strong collaboration between the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and our private sector insurance providers.

On Food Security and Nutrition, the President elaborated the focus to encourage and facilitate large-scale commercial agriculture to diversify food staples through irrigation and other technologies. In addition, there will be programmes aimed at preserving our ecosystems and facilitating ready market access to farm produce.

This clarity cuts our job as diplomats very neatly. There is no doubt that President Uhuru Kenyatta has his eyes set on rapid transformation – this will require a concert of action between ourselves and the diplomatic corps. While work on all the other areas will continue, I urge all of us to study the vision of H.E. the President because your conversation with our government should of necessity respond to these identified needs, in addition to all the ongoing programmes.

For the next five years, the Ministry will dedicate energy, time and resources in line with the Big Four and other key strategic issues that will shape our engagement with our partners and stakeholders.

Kenya is keen to learn from and partner with other African countries in the implementation of its national development agenda under the Big 4 framework.

Kenya is keen to learn from and partner with European countries in the implementation of its national agenda under the Big 4 framework namely Food security, Affordable Housing, Manufacturing and Affordable Healthcare.

Trade and Economic Relations

Kenya is committed to partner with European countries to further enhance trade and economic relations. It is worth noting that the European Union is the 2nd largest market for Exports and the 2nd largest source of Foreign Direct Investment & Overseas Development Assistance for Kenya as well as a key source of tourist arrivals.

Development and Technical assistance

In terms of development and technical assistance, the support received from our European partners has contributed significantly to Kenya’s development agenda and the realization of our economic blueprint, Vision 2030. Foreign Direct Investments, Infrastructure Development, Technology Transfer and Capacity Building from the region have been on an upward trend.

We have signed several agreements with European countries which are actively being implemented and monitored to ensure that the desired impact is felt.

We continue to work closely in various regional issues, including and not limited to peace and security in the horn of Africa region; and global issues such as women’s empowerment, energy and climate change; natural resource management; negotiation of trade agreements, among others. Our political and economic cooperation has continued to thrive through our collective hard work and dedication.

CHOGM

 The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is scheduled to take place in London from 16th – 20th April 2018 under the theme: “Towards a Common Future”. The following four priority areas have been identified by the United Kingdom and will guide the deliberations during CHOGM 2018; a) A More Secure Future b) A More Sustainable Future c) A More Prosperous Future d) A More Fairer Future.

The discussions will make reference to a collective approach in countering violent extremism and radicalization, environmental sustainability, in particular, the devastating impact of climate change, a more equitable multilateral trading system and addressing the stigma of disability in all its forms and manifestations; all of which are key to developing a stable environment for economic growth to thrive. Kenya looks forward to participating in the meetings.

 Africa-EU Summit

 The 5th African Union – European Union Summit was held from November  29-30, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire under the theme “Investing in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”. The Summit saw the adoption of a declaration which covered four broad priority areas on which the AU and EU reached broad consensus, namely: Investing in people – education, science, technology and skills development; Strengthening resilience, peace, security and governance; Migration and mobility; and mobilizing investments for African structural sustainable transformation.

The new EU External Investment Plan was presented to leaders on the occasion of the AU-EU summit. This investment plan intends to trigger €44 billion investments in Africa by 2020. The European Investment Plan presents an opportunity for Kenya to access funding that can be channelled towards projects related to H.E. the President’s second term Big Four agenda.

Peace and security

Kenya is steadfast and committed to continued leadership and partnership in search of lasting peace in the region and the continent as a whole through contribution of peacekeeping troops and mediation and other means deemed appropriate, under the auspices of IGAD, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the African Union Peace & Security Council.

The European Union has been the largest supporter of the Somalia peace process. This includes financial support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). However, a matter of concern remains the 20% decrease in EU financial support to AMISOM. This development has placed a considerable burden on troop-contributing countries and could contribute to a rolling back of the gains achieved by AMISOM.

Kenya’s candidature to the UNSC 2021-2022

Kenya is seeking the support of Member states for a non – permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the period 2021-2022 at the elections to be held in June 2020 in New York. Kenya’s candidature is informed by the role the country plays in enhancing and sustaining regional peace processes.

As a Non-Permanent member, Kenya will continue to advance the cause of regional peace and security and address in a robust way the environmental security related challenges.

While we shall be approaching each Member of the United Nations to support us, we request all Diplomatic Missions accredited to Nairobi to convey this intention to the respective capitals.

ACP/Cotonou Agreement

The establishment of the high-level dialogue on Post Cotonou negotiations will provide leadership to drive the process. The priorities under post-2020 are focused on achieving peace and stability, consolidating democracy, climate change and good governance, unleashing economic opportunities, managing migration and mobility as well as reaching human development standards.

The framework is envisaged to strengthen member cooperation, diversity in partnerships, shared principles and common interests. I am optimistic that the outcome of the post-Cotonou agreement will be beneficial to both Africa and Europe.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communications and engagements including facilitation of visits to all government institution must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction, requests to visit Counties, Ministries, Departments and Agencies should be done at least 10 days to the travel date to allow for time for effective coordination.

Statement by Cabinet Secretary Amb. Monica Juma, during a meeting with ambassadors from Europe on February 27, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenya and Asia and Australasia’s Countries Relation Growing

Bilateral relations between Kenya and Asia and Australasia’s countries have been on an upward trajectory as evidenced by the exchange of high-level visits, both to Nairobi and to the region’s Capitals; Foreign Direct Investments; Infrastructure Development; cooperation on security matters; Technology Transfer and Capacity Building.

I intend to visit parts of Asia and will advise in the coming days on how to leverage on your support for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples.

I note that our political and economic cooperation has continued to thrive within the framework of TICAD, FOCAC, INDIA-AFRICA FORUM SUMMIT and bilateral Joint Commissions for Cooperation. Through these fora, we have achieved a lot in promoting the socio-economic transformation for our people.

The significance of Asia to the world in general and to Kenya, in particular, has increased in recent years. The region is home to more than half of the world population and has some of the fastest-growing economies. Kenya has a lot to learn from the Asian Region.

Indeed, the Asia-Pacific region has the capacity to impact on all sectors of economic development across the country, be it mining in Kakamega and Kwale, boats in Lamu, Avocados in central Kenya, flowers, animals and meat, ICT, health, security, infrastructure, among others.

Development in this region presents immense opportunities for Kenya, particularly as we align ourselves with the ‘Big Four’ agenda which forms the main focus of this administration for the next five years.

 Big Four Agenda

 In our bilateral engagements, we shall focus on the Big Four – this vision is driven by the commitment to be inclusive, to ensure that we do not leave anyone behind, especially the weak members of our society.

In the manufacturing sector, the President emphasized the need to invest in value-addition, particularly in the Blue Economy, Agro-Processing, Leather and Textiles.

In relation to access to affordable and decent shelter, the President reiterated his vision of upscaling homeownership to more than 500,000 Kenyans. This will involve facilitating the provision of affordable mortgages facilities, reducing overhead construction costs, and enhancing private and public sector investment in large-scale housing construction.

On provision of universal healthcare, H.E the President made a projection of ensuring access to quality and affordable medical cover by 2022. That plan will, of necessity, require strong collaboration between the NHIF (National Hospital Insurance Fund) and our private sector insurance providers.

On Food Security and Nutrition, the focus is to encourage and facilitate large-scale commercial agriculture to diversify food staples through irrigation and other technologies. In addition, there will be programmes aimed at preserving our ecosystems and facilitating ready market access to farm produce.

For the next five years, the Ministry will dedicate energy, time and resources in line with the Big Four and other key strategic issues that will shape our engagement with our partners and stakeholders.

Kenya is keen to learn from and partner with other Asia and Australasian countries in the implementation of its national development agenda under the Big 4 framework.

This clarity cuts our job as diplomats very neatly. There is no doubt that President Uhuru has his eyes set on rapid transformation that will require a concert of action between ourselves and the diplomatic corps.

While work on all the other areas will continue I urge all of us to study the vision of the President because your conversation with our government should of necessity respond to these identified needs, in addition to all the ongoing programmes.

For the next five years, the Ministry will dedicate energy, time and resources in line with the Big Four and other key strategic issues that will shape our engagement with our partners and stakeholders.

We are desirous and focussed to learn from and partner with other Asia and Australasia countries particularly in line with the Asian Miracle, which entailed such essential elements as good infrastructure; accumulation of physical capital; successful allocation of capital and labour to high yielding sectors; technology transfer; supportive government and trade policies; equity; fight against corruption; and Importance of human capital.

The Ministry looks forward to continued engagement with the countries in the region in further advancing our cooperation in the aforementioned area as well as in cultivating a culture of innovation for sustainable development.

During my tenure as the Cabinet Secretary, I will endeavour to further deepen and expand our cooperation and explore new areas of collaboration for the mutual benefits of our countries.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communications and engagements including facilitation of visits to all government institutions must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction let your requests to visit Counties, Ministries, Departments and Government Agencies be done in good time – The Principal Secretary will convey the appropriate dates for effective coordination.

Statement by Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma to Asia and Australasia Countries Resident in Nairobi on February 26, 2018.

Kenya’s Deliberate Africa-Centric Foreign Policy

President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly underscored the centrality of Africa in our foreign policy.  My engagement with the Africa group – although first on the alphabet – seeks to reaffirm this deliberate policy choice.  It is my instruction to bring additional impetus to re-affirming Kenya’s Afro-centric Foreign Policy. My team will work consciously towards responding to African issues and aspirations.  We shall focus attention on enhancing regional integration, growing intra-African trade and focus on milestones towards achieving Vision 2063.  This is because we believe strongly in shared prosperity.

Engagement in our neighbourhood remains a cornerstone of this foreign policy orientation. I have just returned from the EAC Summit in Kampala Uganda organized under theme deepening and widening regional integration through infrastructure and health sector development in the EAC partner states. The summit noted and endorsed nine key investment priorities areas for health and directed the partner states mobilise resources required to support the implementation of both ongoing and new priority projects.

I take note of the changing socio-political and economic landscape in Africa. The recent political developments across the continent from Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and currently Ethiopia have demonstrated fidelity to the rule of law, a credence that guarantees peace, unity, and shared prosperity of our peoples. I am optimistic that Ethiopian Authorities and people have the ability to overcome the current situation and consolidate progress made over years, to ensure peace in the region and the continent as a whole.

We remain alive to global dynamics and their impact on Africa’s aspiration.  Last year in June, as we convened our African group of envoys we had the honour of having President Mbeki to contextualise the African issues for us.  During a most probing session, President Mbeki began by asking the question, “if we were sending an African negotiating delegation to Washington DC, what could they present on behalf of the continent?” he posed a similar question for Beijing and Brussels.   If this question was posed in the 1960s or in 1990, maybe the answer would have been easy – driven by the OAU the search for the total liberation and freedom of Africa was the mantra for all African leadership. What is the mantra for today and tomorrow?

Excellences, Ambassadors and High Commissioners

Kenya attaches great importance to our immediate neighbourhood and this explains why it is my first charge.  But I will not stop here I shall be looking to the West, South, Central and Northern Africa.  I am looking to improving our physical footprint in the continent where we have only 22 missions.

Big Four Agenda

In our bilateral engagements, we shall focus close attention to the Big Four – this vision is driven by the commitment to be inclusive, to ensure that we do not leave anyone, especially the weak members of our society, behind.

In the manufacturing sector, the President emphasized the need to invest in value-addition particularly in the Blue Economy, Agro-Processing, Leather and Textiles.

In relation to access to affordable and decent shelter, H.E the President reiterated his vision of upscaling homeownership to more than 500,000 Kenyans. This strategy will involve facilitating the provision of affordable mortgages facilities, reducing overhead construction costs, and enhancing more private and public sector for investment in large-scale housing construction.

On provision of universal healthcare, H.E the President made a projection of ensuring access to quality and affordable medical cover by 2022. That plan will, of necessity, require strong collaboration between the NHIF (National Hospital Insurance Fund) and our private sector insurance providers.

On Food Security and Nutrition, the focus is to encourage and facilitate large-scale commercial agriculture to diversify food staples through irrigation and other technologies. In addition, there will be programmes aimed at preserving our ecosystems and facilitating ready market access to farm produce.

For the next five years, the Ministry will dedicate energy, time and resources in line with the Big Four and other key strategic issues that will shape our engagement with our partners and stakeholders.

Kenya is keen to learn from and partner with other African countries in the implementation of its national development agenda under the Big 4 framework.

Regional Peace and Security

Kenya’s Chairmanship of the African Union Peace and Security Council for the month of February 2018

As you know, Kenya is the Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council for the month of February 2018. Consistent with its longstanding commitment in search for stability and lasting peace in the region as a precondition for economic, social and political prosperity, Kenya has used the opportunity to highlight some of the challenges facing the Horn of Africa region, in particular, the situation in Somalia focusing on the political stabilization process and on the activities AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as well as giving impetus to the Revitalization Process for the Peace Agreement in South Sudan.

  1. Somalia

The security situation remains grave and unpredictable and continues to be a major concern. This weekend, terrorism has reared its head up again in Mogadishu, leaving 38 people dead and many more injured.  I want to take a moment to convey my heartfelt condolences to the President and the People of this sisterly neighbour of ours.  We in Kenya are only too aware of the effect of terr the rism, and we condemn this cowardly act in the strongest terms.  The surge of Al Shabaab attacks brings into sharp focus the timing of the AMISOM drawdown, which began at the end of December 2017, and the level of preparedness of the Somalia Nations Security Forces to take over the security responsibility of the country.

The UN and AU should ensure practical and realistic AMISOM exit timelines that should be subject to regular review, considering current and emerging developments on the ground to prevent existence of vulnerable gaps that could expose Somalia to further attacks.

In view of this, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) on February 15th 2018, called for an AMOSIM transition plan based on realistic timeframe and the attainment of the key security conditions suggested by the AU-UN Joint review.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government of AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) is scheduled to take place in Kampala, Uganda on March  2, 2018.

The Summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views and address key issues relating to: the current situation in Somalia; the continued role of the TCCs/AMISOM in Somalia; Mechanism for sustainable and predictable funding for AMISOM; and Measures for sustainable peace and security in the post AMISOM era.

The efforts in Somalia must be insulated for the spillover effects of the Gulf crisis that could unravel the ongoing political stabilization process. Kenya reaffirms its commitment to supporting the Government and the people of Somalia in their quest for political stability and socio-economic development.

2. South Sudan

Kenya remains steadfast on its longstanding commitment in search for stability and lasting peace in South Sudan which is a precondition for economic, social and political prosperity.

It is regrettable that the conflict in South Sudan has entered its fifth year, despite the initiatives at the national, regional and international levels to address the political and security crisis. The magnitude of the humanitarian tragedy occasioned by the conflict, especially population displacements- internally and the growing number of refugees to the neighbouring countries remains a deep concern.

IGAD has continued with its mediation efforts through the High Level Revitalization process of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), whose three key objectives are:- to restore permanent ceasefire, full implementation of the Peace Agreement, and have revised realistic timelines and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period.

In furtherance of the revitalisation process, the IGAD Council of Ministers convened in Addis Ababa on December 17, 2017 and on January 27, 2018 respectively. The High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) was launched on December 18, 2017, during which the South Sudanese Parties negotiated and signed the “Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access” on December 21, 2017.

It is regrettable that despite this achievement there have been persistent reports of sporadic violent clashes between government and Opposition forces on multiple locations. The fighting has, however, not been to the levels that could unravel the peace process. It is also encouraging that despite the few setbacks, the South Sudanese Parties have committed themselves to continue with the peace talks.

IGAD has expressed its concern over the continued violations and agreed to take all necessary measures including targeted sanctions against individual violators and spoilers.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has also pronounced itself and stands ready to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures on parties and individuals as appropriate. However, IGAD does not favour the imposition of blanket sanctions for the country which could aggravate the suffering of the majority of the civilian population and be counter-productive to the peace process.

The second phase of HLRF was convened in Addis Ababa on February 5-16, 2018, during which the Parties deliberated on issues of governance, permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements. The talks adjourned with some progress on a number of issues, but there is a wide gap on the Parties positions on some important elements that would ensure inclusivity of the transitional governance institutions and on security sector reforms. IGAD is expected to convene the Third Phase in March 2018.

Kenya continues to encourage all Parties to uphold their commitment to Cessation of Hostilities to facilitate a conducive environment for a credible, inclusive political dialogue through which the legitimate and reasonable concerns of all South Sudanese are addressed to ensure a win-win solution.

South Sudan challenge is not only for the region but remains a shared burden and responsibility of the entire community of nations, and should render full support to the peace process and in facilitating an enabling environment in the implementation of its outcomes.

I wish to underscore Kenya’s concern over emerging adverse trends on the continent such as terrorism and human trafficking that largely threaten to roll back the continent’s socio-economic gains and curtail progress in the attainment of Agenda 2063. In this regard, therefore, I strongly express Kenya’s commitment to partner with all African countries to address these challenges.

I wish to state that Kenya is steadfast in its commitment to continued leadership and partnership in search for lasting peace in the region and the continent as a whole through contribution of peacekeeping troops and mediation and other means deemed appropriate, under the auspices of IGAD, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the African Union Peace & Security Council.

3. Security and Political Situation in DRC

The Great Lakes Region has historically experienced crippling violent conflicts and civil wars that have resulted into loss of many lives and destruction of property thereby negatively affecting region’s development.

The security situation in the Great Lakes Region in general and the DRC in particular need to be addressed both at Regional and International levels. The Political instability and the myriad of conflicts in DRC continue to be of great concern as the country continues to experience various security challenges. The elections were expected to be held in December 2016 but constant postponement has resulted into continuous expressions of dissatisfaction from the opposition supporters resulting to anti-Kabila protests coupled with heavy police response leading to deaths of civilians. The elections were postponed yet again due to logistical challenges and are scheduled to be held in December 2018.

There is need for Regional and International partners to extend support to the DRC to facilitate the implementation process of the political agreement signed on 31 December 2016, and the holding of peaceful elections in December 2018.

4. ADF Rebel Group

The recent resurgence in the activities of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group operating in the Ruwenzori mountains near the border of DRC and Uganda, is of great concern to the region due to the group’s links to International terrorism.

In December 2017, ADF attacked a MUNUSCO camp in North Kivu which led to the death of 15 peacekeepers. Despite the on-going efforts by the DRC armed forces (FARDC) and the UN peace keeping mission (MONUSCO) to neautralise the ADF, the group remains a threat not only in eastern DRC but throughout the region and continues to recruit in neighbouring countries.

There has been a move by the UN to reduce the number of MONUSCO troops in DRC and cut its budgetary allocation as part of the UN cost cutting measures. However, the security situation in this region remains dire and the role of MONUSCO/FIB in supporting FARDC in the fight against negative forces remains key.

Even as the UN effects the budget cuts and undertakes MONUSCO troop reduction, the region should lobby for the strengthening of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) which is part of MONUSCO which is involved in fighting the negative forces to enhance its military capacity to engage the various negative forces operating in the region including the ADF.

The region should support the platforms of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Peace Security and Cooperation (PSCF) Framework spearheaded by the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to address the security and political challenges in DRC.

The recurrent nature of conflicts in places such as DRC, CAR, Burundi and South Sudan;

While a lot of efforts have been expended in addressing conflicts in these countries and major progress registered, the conflicts keep on re-emerging after a certain period. The Office of a Special Envoy for the great lakes region to constantly engage the leadership of DRC, Burundi and South Sudan and support the regional peace efforts in these countries.

Evolution of rebel groups that adopted jihadist ideologies

Terrorism and radicalization is an emerging threat to stability in the region. Some rebel groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have adopted terrorist tactics and ideologies in their operations. Their activities undermine regional security and hence the ICGLR’s decision to constantly monitor and suppress them.

Continental Integration

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his 2nd Inaugural address, made a declaration that, other EAC citizens armed with their national identity cards, are free to enter Kenya to transact business, buy property, live or even marry Kenyans.

To realise the Pan-African agenda, there is need to strengthen regional integration process to feed into the wider continental agenda. In this regard, Kenya remains steadfast in its commitment to the EAC integration process. Kenya will continue to reorient its foreign policy to enhance regional integration and Intra-African trade as a cornerstone for Africa’s development and economic prosperity.

We intend to pursue greater economic partnership and unity through Regional Economic Cooperation fora including: COMESA, EAC, SADC, while working on the conclusion of the Grand Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), which lays a strong foundation for the realization of the envisioned Continental Free Trade Area, which is scheduled to be launched in March 2018, in Rwanda.

As a region, we should realize that the benefits of integration are not pre-ordained, and the integration process is strutted with challenges, which calls for continuous engagement and dialogue

Institutional Reforms

Allow me to reiterate Kenya’s commitment to work closely with all African countries in the implementation of Institutional Reforms of the African Union and Agenda 2063. Kenya is particularly keen on partnership of the Agenda 2063 Flagship projects, including the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); Silencing the Guns by the year 2020; and regional infrastructure programmes.

I want to re-affirm Kenya’s commitment to AU’s Ezulwini Consensus position with regard to UN Security Council reforms. It is indeed Kenya’s commitment to the reforms that informed the country’s presentation of her candidature for the UN Security Council non-permanent seat for the year 2021-2022.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communications and engagements including facilitation of visits to all governments institution must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction request to visit Counties be done in good time – PS will convey the appropriate dates for effective coordination.

Presentation by Amb Monica Juma to Diplomats from Africa Region Resident in Nairobi on February 26, 2018

 

Middle East of Great Strategic Importance to Kenya

The Middle East region is home to 65.5% of proven world oil reserves and holds 40% of the world’s conventional natural gas reserves. The importance of this Region in the world economy, therefore, cannot be taken for granted.

Kenya values highly the cordial ties with the Middle East countries and is represented by seven Resident Diplomatic Missions and on a non-residential basis in the rest of the countries where we are not on the ground.

These bonds of friendship have witnessed exchanges of high-level visits for which we are fully appreciative. I am also aware that there are a number of pending visits which we are committed to actualising.

The region is a leading source of fossil fuels (oil, petroleum and gas); has huge funds for development projects; provides employment opportunities for Kenya’s expanding Diaspora and is an important partner for trade and investment.

The region is also critical due to other issues of common concern including security, religious extremism and youth radicalisation.

Strategic importance to the Horn of Africa Region

Strategic waterways for the Middle East countries include: the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Aden, Strait of Hormuz and Bab–el Mandep. These waterways are a crucial link between the region, the Horn of Africa and the globe

Kenya, indeed Africa, can learn from the example of Middle East in terms of managing development in a situation of conflict and political instability. There is a need for a strategy tailored for the region to help Kenya tap into the opportunities the Middle East offers and mitigate the risks and threats prevalent in the region.

Political Economy of the Middle East

The Middle East Region is in the midst of an oil-bust coming after oil booms of 1973 and late 1990s. This has forced Middle East countries to re-adjust the role of oil in their economies through diversification which has given rise to a new breed of investors with high net worth from the region looking for opportunities abroad.

Kenya acknowledges advanced technologies in the region in oil and gas prospecting, mining, processing and exportation and looks forward to cooperating with the region in the development of Kenya’s recently discovered oil.

Overseas Development Assistance

The role played by the Middle East region in international development cannot be understated. The Arab aid which is predominated by The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates plays a significant part in international development. Currently, Arab aid equals up to 13% of OECD-DAC aid and up to 75% of non-OECD members.

Kenya has benefited from Arab Development Funds up to the tune of USD 244 million. Among the key projects include: Construction of KMTC in Chwele, Bungoma County; Nuno-Modogashe Road Project in Garissa County; Sultan Hamud hospital in Makuweni County and the Construction of a Burns and Pediatric Centre at Kenyatta Hospital among others.

Kenya appreciates development cooperation with the Arab Development partners:

  1. OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID);
  2. The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA);
  3. The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD);
  4. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD);
  5. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KF).

Delivery on the Big Four

The government has prioritized delivery on the flagship ‘Big 4 Agenda’ namely:

Food Security

Most countries in the Middle East are net importers of food and thus the science and politics of food security in the region is a critical issue.

The GCC countries have purchased or leased huge tracts of land for food production in various parts of the world including Africa, Asia and in the Indian sub-continent in a quest to alleviate food deficiency in their countries.

In engaging the Middle East, Kenya could take advantage of the food deficiency in the region to enhance trade on food items.

Affordable Housing

Kenya will seek to identify, study and cooperate in the transfer of technologies used in the Middle East that has made the cost of housing affordable to its citizens. Similarly, Kenya invites prospective investors in real estate and financing construction of affordable houses.

Manufacturing and Value Addition

Kenya invites investors from Middle East to invest in the manufacturing sector. The government has put in place attractive incentives that will guarantee protection on investments and lucrative returns. Numerous opportunities exist where investors can come in on a joint venture arrangement or on PPP.

We are grateful that we have received a number of encouraging and serious inquiries on trade and investment from the Middle East. These are receiving due attention.

A number of trade missions have also been conducted both in Kenya and the Middle East. This is very encouraging.

Universal Health

Kenya is encouraged by the existing cooperation framework in the health sector with several Middle East countries. However, we endeavour to further enhance this cooperation with Middle East partners in finishing on-going projects as well as initiating new ones across the country.

Labour and Employment

Kenya appreciates the Middle East countries for hosting over 200,000 Kenyans who live and work in the region, whose remittances play a central role in our economic development and affording their families to live decent lives.

The economies of the regional countries depend to a significant extent on foreign (expatriate) labour. The deficient labour needs by almost all the countries in this region present Kenya and the globe with opportunities that need to be harnessed. Kenya can offer both skilled and semi-skilled staff to most countries in the Middle East.

To guarantee the welfare and rights of the workers, Kenya has concluded labour agreements with several countries in the region and will seek to initiate and conclude same with those countries not yet on board. Forthwith, Kenya is committed to upscaling its labour export to the Middle East from the unskilled and semi-skilled to professional cadres.

Peace and Security

Kenya recognizes that to realize sustainable development and political stability, peace and security must be guaranteed. To this end, Kenya has concluded several cooperation frameworks with Middle East countries that facilitate information sharing on security matters and training of our security personnel.

Kenya supports all efforts to peacefully and amicably solve disputes in the Middle East.

Bilateral/Multilateral Cooperation

I am aware that Kenya has concluded a number of instruments of cooperation with the majority of the Middle East countries. There is, however, need to put into place mechanisms to follow up on the implementation of the Agreements and MoUs concluded for mutual benefits of parties involved.

Like Kenya, the majority of Middle East countries are members of the Group of 77 which plays a central role in enhancing joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. Therefore, cultivating cordial relations with this region, forms crucial platforms for mutual and reciprocal support on various issues and candidatures in the international positions.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communications and engagements including facilitation of visits to all governments’ institution must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction, requests to visit Counties, Ministries, Departments and Agencies should be done at least 10 days to the travel date to allow for time for effective coordination.

Cabinet Secretary, Amb Monica Juma, Statement to Middle East Ambassadors Resident in Nairobi on February 27, 2018

EAC Leaders Agree to Explore “Variable Geometry” in Trade with EU

KAMPALA, Uganda, February 23, 2018 (PSCU)—East African Community leaders agreed on Friday to explore “variable geometry” in their trade arrangements with the European Union.

“Variable geometry” allows countries committed to specific agreements to do so, while those not ready or have their own doubts to move at their own pace.

In the case of EAC, all countries are agreed to pursuing Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union, but while Kenya and Rwanda have signed the agreements, the other member countries say they are not yet ready to do so.

The decision was announced in a communiqué at the end of the EAC summit at the Munyonyo Resort, on the shores of Lake Victoria, on the edge of the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Leaders also agreed to continue on the path of infrastructure development, as well as seeking to cooperate in areas such as health, in order to together grow Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

EAC leaders endorsed other decisions, such as reform of the Secretariat of the EAC, as well as naming and swearing in Kenyan lawyer Charles Nyachae as a judge of the East African Court of Justice.

Earlier in Uganda, President Kenyatta made a strong pitch for faster movement of goods and services and called on East Africans to do everything to ensure intra-regional trade boomed.

“We are committed to make the EAC a success. We are committed to integration,” the President said.

In a practical show of how to promote integration, President Kenyatta and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, current chair of the EAC, will on Saturday formally open the One-stop-border post in the town of Busia, along the common border of their countries.

The post will drastically cut the time it takes to process individuals and goods in what is one of the region’s busiest border facilities.

President Kenyatta also held talks with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, during which he was briefed on the current situation in Kenya’s northern neighbour.

President Kenyatta earlier met Tanzanian President John Magufuli. While affirming that they enjoyed good relations, the leaders directed their East African and Foreign Affairs ministers to urgently meet to resolve small but vexing problems between their countries.

CS Monica Juma Receives Detained Kenyan Pilots from Juba, South Sudan

  1. Today I am very relieved and pleased to announce that the two Kenyan pilots, namely Captain Frank Njoroge and co-pilot Captain Kennedy Shamalla, accompanied by the repatriation team have just arrived, here in Nairobi’s Wilson airport. To receive them, I am with the families of Captain Njoroge and co-pilot Captain Shamalla, Captain Wachira and other Government officials.
  2. As we all recall, on Sunday, January 7, 2018, a Kenyan registered aircraft having flown on a humanitarian mission crashed during take-off in Akobo, South Sudan. Also on board, the aircraft were nine other passengers of different nationalities. All crew and passengers exited safely from the aircraft. The aircraft, however, was completely destroyed.
  3. Following this unfortunate incident, the two Kenyan pilots were illegally detained under the instructions of the Akobo local authorities. Akobo is under the control of the SPLM I.O.
  4. The family of the detained pilots have suffered great emotional and psychological distress during the unacceptable long period of detention of the two pilots. Both have come back to their families emaciated and severely ill. Our thoughts have always been with them, as we at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade together with the company for which the pilots worked for, struggled hard to secure the release of their loved ones.
  5. The Government of the Republic of Kenya deplores the unfriendly and inhumane response of the SPLM I.O. to what was an unfortunate accident. We condemn the capture and detention of our Kenyan pilots in the strongest possible terms.
  6. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade would like to take this opportunity to thank the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for its cooperation and support in securing the extraction of the pilots from Akobo. And, furthermore, would like to express its deepest gratitude to the UN medical personnel in Juba who attended to the pilots upon their arrival from their harrowing experience.
  7. My Ministry also recognises the support of the Kenyan Red Cross and its gallant nurses, who accompanied the rescue team into Akobo. And, the doctors and nurses of the Mater hospital for their agreement to receive and treat the pilots upon their arrival in Nairobi. Let us all be thankful to God that our fellow citizens have arrived home safely and alive.
  8. Finally let me once again, take this opportunity, to advise all Kenyan travelling abroad to exercise extreme caution especially in countries experiencing instability and unrest.
  9. Let me underscore that the lives, property and safety of every Kenyan abroad is a top Government priority. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure that every Kenyan everywhere is safe. We, therefore, encourage all Kenyan nationals living abroad to register with the nearest Kenyan Embassy or high commission or through the Diaspora and Consular Directorate at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on diaspora@mfa.go.ke and +25420494992
  10. I thank you and now, Captain Njoroge and Shamalla will proceed for a further medical check-up. I implore the media and the rest of Kenyans to allow them space and privacy to reconnect with the family.

Thank you very much.