‘Belgian Government Key Development Partner of Kenya’

Relationship between Kenya and the Kingdom of Belgium are characteristic warm and cordial at both bilateral and multilateral levels, Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed has said.

In  speech read on her behalf by Europe and Commonwealth Director at the Ministry Amb. Ben Ogutu during a farewell luncheon in honour of outgoing Belgium ambassador to Kenya H.E. Roxane De Bildering, CS Mohamed said the two countries relationship had been enhanced through exchange of high level visits.

Below is the full speech read out during the luncheon:

STATEMENT BY  AMBASSADOR (DR) AMINA C. MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS  DURING THE FAREWEL CEREMONY FOR H.E ROXANE DE BILDERING, THE OUTGOING AMBASSADOR OF THE KINGDOM  OF  BELGIUM

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, Your Excellency Roxane de Bildering,

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor for me, on behalf of the Government and People of Kenya to host this Farewell Luncheon in honour of H.E. Roxane De Bildering who is leaving us after a successful completion of her three -year tour of duty in Kenya. I thank you all for gracing this occasion as we gather here to say goodbye to her and wish her well in her next assignment.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Relationship between Kenya and the Kingdom of Belgium are characteristic warm and cordial at both bilateral and multilateral levels. Development co-operation between the two countries dates back to the 1970s and have been growing ever since indeed. Excellency, your tour of duty has solidified and strengthened this relationship. Our two countries have indeed witnessed enhanced cooperation and interaction at high levels including the visit by H.E. the President to Brussels in June, 2016, during which he held bilateral talks with the Prime-minister and his Majesty King Philippe. This was followed by visit to Kenya by the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs in November 2016. These high – level engagements are testimony to our desire to enhance mutually beneficial co-operation and further enrichment of our long history of collaboration.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The Belgian Government is a key development partner of Kenya. The enhanced collaboration is demonstrated  by increase of  Official Development Assistance from the Kingdom of Belgium to Kenya during your tenure in Kenya by the commitment of Kshs 4.5 billion worthy of development initiatives for the period 2016/17, compared Kshs 2 billion for the period 2015/16.

Suffice to mention a few areas of cooperation between the two Governments in the area of Information, Communication and Technology sector including:

  • Enhancing the connectivity between Nairobi and 47 County administrations.
  • Private Network County Connectivity ICT project at the Treasury.
  • Wind energy generation and rural electrification.
  • Medical equipment with installations for diagnosis to cover at least one hospital in each county, Water distribution.
  • Upgrading of firefighting equipment in Nairobi.
  • Humanitarian activities mainly on social-cultural activities aimed at slum upgrading.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I, in particular wish to applaud the efforts that the Belgian Government has made to support Kenya in Drought Relief Projects in Turkana with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium (VSF), and Education partnerships with Kenyan institutions such as the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) that has enabled the marine research organization to train more than 70 research scientists. The donation of the Marine Research Vessel, RV. Mtafiti has strengthened KMFRI’s capacity to carry out marine studies and research.

Others sectors that have benefitted from this support include;

  • Telecommunications Equipment (PABX) telephone systems to government institutions and Ministries,
  • Urban Transport Survey (UTS) to the Garissa Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) project consultancy
  • The Nairobi bypass road project,
  • Energy Generation Wind farm in Ngong Hills with a capacity to produce 5.1 MW of clean energy.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The latest statistics show that Kenyan exports to the Kingdom of Belgium were valued at Kshs. 5.3 billion against imports valued at Kshs. 13 billion with the balance of trade at KShs. 8 billion in favour of Belgium. This trade imbalance presents an opportunity for that we find innovative ways of closing the gap. I that we to make use of commercially available business opportunities like diversification of exports, value addition, foreign direct investment in the emerging areas of ICT, gas, coal and oil.

Tourist numbers for the year 2016 showed a slight decrease of 0.2% from 6,350 to 6,335 in year 2015.  Our two countries therefore need to double efforts to enhance tourism. Kenya  has a wide  variety  of  Fauna  and flora   and  many diversified tourist attraction  sites  which offer a  wide  range of  experiences. Indeed Belgian   companies should be encouraged to invest and enter into partnerships with Kenyan tour operators to tap into this market.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Excellency as you leave Kenya to take up your new assignment, we hope that you will continue to cultivate your goodwill and friendship to Kenya and treasure the wonderful memories and many friends that you have made during your stay here.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

May I now request you all to join me in a toast to the warm and cordial relations between Kenya and the Kingdom of Belgium and to the good health of His Majesty King Philippe and to the prosperity of the people of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Thank you.