CS Monica Juma Outlines Kenya’s Foreign Policy Direction


Good morning members of the Fourth Estate

  1. I am delighted to welcome you to my first media briefing session as the Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. I wish to take this early opportunity to thank every one of you for honouring our invitation and wish you a happy International Women’s Day.
  1. This media briefing today marks the commencement of what I hope will be a regular session with the media in regard to communicating the status of our foreign relations and diplomacy during my tenure as Cabinet Secretary.
  1. I, therefore, wish to commence the briefing by taking this opportunity to formally introduce the new team at the helm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that I will be working with.

Ababu Namwamba, EGH Chief Administrative Secretary

Is a top constitutional and international human rights attorney, who has established a distinguished profile as an accomplished legislator and defender of truth, justice and the public interest.

Ababu served in two consecutive parliamentary sessions, the 10th and 11th parliaments, a no mean feat in a country where attrition on members of parliament stands at above 75% for any cycle.  During his time in parliament, Honourable Namwamba holds the record of the highest number of successful motions in the 10th Parliament and had over ten Bills to his name in the 11th Parliament.  He also served on a number of parliamentary committees including the Public Accounts and Judicial and Constitutional Affairs Committees of parliament.

He has also served the Republic as the Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs during which time, he is remembered for the enactment of the long desired Sports Act, actualization of the National Youth Council and enhancement of the National Youth Fund.

Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary, Foreign Affairs

A career diplomat with rich experience who I know most of you have interacted with as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, and, who had an exemplary record at the United Nations.

He served diligently as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to our Mission to the United Nations Office in Nairobi; the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations Environment Programme; Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations HABITAT; and as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to our Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Ambassador Kamau has under his sleeve in excess of 24 Years of a cross section of expertise and skills in areas dealing with Political, Development and Policy Work, Strategic Planning, Negotiation, UN Reform, work at Senior levels across a number of the UN agencies including UNDP, UNICEF, GF and UNTAG, all undertaken across several regions in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as North America.

He served 16 Years in Senior Country Leadership and Management at UNDP and UNICEF; 7 Years as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative (Botswana and Rwanda); 6 Years as the United Nations Children Fund Representative (Eastern Caribbean and South Africa); 3 Years as the Chief, UN and External Relations, Office of Executive Director, UNICEF HQ, New York among others.

He has also demonstrated exemplary leadership in global negotiations, has been credited with the super consensus building during his co-chairing of the negotiations that concluded the Sustainable Development Goals; UN Peace and Security, including co-chairing the UN Peacebuilding Commission, UN Governance Board, serving as a Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General on several tasks, and received medals and awards in recognition of his work.

Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, International Trade

Dr. Chris Kiptoo is currently leading our delegation in negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Area in Kigali, Rwanda, and therefore unable to join us at this media briefing. 

Dr. Kiptoo was appointed as Principal Secretary, International Trade in 2015 and has since taking office accomplished a great deal within that time; he oversaw the Signing and Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Development of the National Trade Policy (NTP) and also spearheaded the development of Kenya’s e-trade portals which made Kenya the first country in the East African Community (EAC) and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) to comply with Article 1 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Prior to his appointment Dr. Kiptoo was the Kenya Country Director of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) during which time he grew a strong and invaluable partnership with the government. Before that, he held various senior positions, with the Office of the Prime Minister in Kenya, Capital Markets Authority (CMA), Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

  1. This team, is supported by a strong technical team led by Tom Amolo, Political and Diplomatic Secretary and more than 17 Directors and Heads of Divisions that lead teams on specific thematic issues and regions of the world.
  2. This team interacts first with a growing diplomatic corps based in and out of Nairobi following fifty-six missions. Our footprint in Africa is represented by twenty (20) Missions, eight (8) in Asia and Australasia, six (6) in Middle East, six (6) in Americas, fourteen (14) in Europe, and the largest United Nations footprint in the global south that includes the United Nations Office in Nairobi, UNEP, UN Habitat and a wide representation of regional UN Agencies and programmes. These are in addition to a large humanitarian outfit that services the Greater Horn of Africa as well as Central Africa that includes the United Nations Operation in Somalia, South Sudan and Eastern Congo.
  3. n addition to these international governmental actors in another set of non-governmental organizations including the International Red Cross and Crescent Societies, Oxfam–Uk which is now Headquartered in Nairobi and numerous other international configurations including members of the media family that operate out of Nairobi.
  4. In addition to what we can call public stakeholders in a growing number of international investors and private sector actors. As our environment of doing business improves and as we became more and more attractive for investment, we see a growing number of interested actors on our shores to explore the possibility of engagement and investment, and standing up investment.
  5. Combined actions and engagement with these myriad of actors makes the operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade a tapestry of action at different levels and on different issues. What then, dear ladies and gentlemen are the strands of this tapestry from the Kenyan perspective? In other words what constitutes our foreign policy in the face of these growing interest in Kenya?
  6. Our foreign policy is shaped by two mega trends:
  • The fast changing global environment that may be defined by increased uncertain and lack of adherence to the norms that have driven international relations. For instance, there is growing narrow nationalism, increasing unrestiveness among populations, dynamic that have changed the global power structures, etc.
  • On the other and related to us is the growing demand for Kenya’s leadership – at the regional, African and even global stage. We are called upon to provide not just thought leadership but demonstrative leadership across many issues – peace and security, governance, environmental sustainability, technology and innovation, etc.
  • In the light of these two mega trends, our foreign policy seeks to achieve a vision of a peaceful, prosperous, globally competitive Kenya. We seek this vision through a number of strategic pillars and focus areas, pursued within the core of our foreign policy, namely Pan Africanism.  We believe that our peace, prosperity and sustainability is inextricably linked to Africa.

Growing our prosperity 

7. Core to building our relations with the rest of the world is to aspiration to create opportunities for our people and nation, in order to prosper. We express this aspiration as economic diplomacy.  This is the basis of our strong investment in the integration agenda within the East African Community. Last week the 19th East African Community Summit, having deliberated on the infrastructural and health needs of the region, directed the Council of Ministers to mobilize resources required for implementation of new and on-going priority infrastructure projects in the region.  The imperative to make the EAC work in a manner that grows our shared prosperity will see us, in the Ministry invest a lot of energy on our Partner States Uganda – which is a second largest trading partner, Tanzania which is our third largest trading partner, Rwanda, Burundi and even South Sudan.  It also means we shall forge stronger working relations with our sister Ministry of East Africa – lead by Honourable Peter Munya.

8.The second concentric circle of our Africa Policy is the African continent. The Ministry will continue to drive the efforts to grow the intra Africa trade which still stands at a mere 12 percent compared to 26 percent of inter-Asian trade or 60% of the intra-European trade.

9. Kenya has been at the forefront in driving the negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Agreement. Currently, Dr. Kiptoo is leading the Ministerial team in the final negotiations of this important instrument that is critical to unlock the trade potential on the continent. The main objective of the CFTA is to establish a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the 54 members of the African Union that will allow free movement of goods and services across the continent. The CFTA, therefore, seeks to establish a larger market with the aim of boosting intra-Africa trade.

10. The CFTA Agreement will comprise the Framework Agreement, Protocol on Trade in Goods, Protocol on Trade in Services, Protocol on Dispute Settlement and associated annexes and appendices. Other Protocols on Intellectual Property Rights, Investment and Competition Policy shall form an integral part of the Agreement but will be concluded in phase two of the negotiations. It has also been agreed that the Agreement and the Protocols on Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, and Dispute Settlement Rules and Procedures shall enter into force thirty (30) days after the deposit of the fifteenth (15th) instrument of ratification to the AU Secretariat.

11. It is expected that the agreement on the CFTA will be signed during the forthcoming Extra-Ordinary Summit scheduled for 21st March in Kigali. The conclusion of the CFTA and the forthcoming launch of the Continental Free trade area will mark an important milestone for Africa. The official launch of CFTA will send a bold and clear message that Africa has positioned itself to be the preferred investment destination of choice.

12. We have moved ahead of the CFTA. In an effort to demonstrate our commitment, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Jamhuri 2017, opened Kenya for Africa and announced that all Africans would get visas upon arrival. This action is aimed at encouraging the movement of people, services and goods. It is, therefore, our intention to intensify negotiations of favourable frameworks that will enable Kenyan goods and services to access African markets across the continent, and beyond.

13. Within the context of the African Union, I am committed to working closely with all African countries in the implementation of Institutional Reforms of the African Union – particularly with a view to reduce the degree of its dependence on non-member states and entities and ensure implementation of Agenda 2063. Through the creation of partnership for the Agenda 2063 Flagship projects, including the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); Silencing the Guns by the year 2020; and regional infrastructure programmes.

Peace and Security

14. The realisation of our aspirations for growth is tied to stability within Kenya and our region. This is the reason why we remain focused on the pursuit of peace and security in our region.  The stability and development of Somalia is key for Kenya’s and the region prosperity. This explains why Kenya remains a strong voice for Somalia in the international system.  This is a role we shall continue to take in order to mobilise the international community to help Somalia back on its feet, to free it from terrorists and set it on a path of development and prosperity.

15. In view of this we shall along with the other Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and the Somali Government will petition the UN Security Council to reconsider the resolution on drawdown of AMISOM troops, restore the previous troop levels and stay any further reduction to allow recovery of territory still under control of Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups.

16. We are optimistic that the Government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will build on the gains made and the people of Somalia will define a path to determine their own destiny. Especially with regards to the progress made in the political process in Somalia, notably with regard to relations between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States, the constitutional review process and the development of an electoral system towards 2020 elections. Kenya will continue to offer support to Somalia.

South Sudan

17. Kenya remains steadfast on its longstanding commitment in search for stability and lasting peace in South Sudan. It is unfortunate 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.

18. 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.

16. The security situation in the Great Lakes Region in general and the DRC and Burundi in particular need to be addressed both at Regional and International levels. The Political instability and the myriad of conflicts in the region continue to be of great concern as they continue to experience various security challenges.

17. 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

 Mapping the world to leverage on the implementation of the Big Four

18. The ministry will also focus attention on leveraging partnerships that help us deliver on the Big Four agenda, namely Food security, Universal Healthcare, decent housing and manufacturing. These agenda speak to the human security – ensuring that we do not leave any of our people, especially the vulnerable and weak behind.   It also seeks to guarantee the freedom from indignity and vulnerability caused by the last of the basic needs and services: food, shelter, good health and jobs and empowerment.

19. The ministry has commenced a global mapping exercise, first to establish the competitive advantage for these services and secondly partners that are able to work with our private sector and government to deliver on this agenda at an optimal cost.

20. In this regard, we will be looking at the various regions and countries of the world to assess both opportunities, establish risk profiles in order to enable us to work to reduce any of the risks that may slow our implementation.

21. From South East Asia, through the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and in Africa, the Big Four has been embraced with enthusiasm. We, at the Ministry, will be working to translate this enthusiasm into optimal support – to enable our country to be food sufficient, to enable our country to add value to the production chain, have our people be healthier and therefore more productive and have our people- particularly get jobs.

22. We will intensify our negotiations with old but also new friends and partners, and grow the numbers and level of visits and engagements. As you already know, we shall be hosting the USA Secretary of State tomorrow, next week we shall be receiving a number of foreign ministers as well.  Furthermore, a number of key meetings speak directly to the Big Four agenda. For instance, the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will focus on securing the future, contributing to a sustainable future, and seeking a more prosperous and fair future for all.

Multilateral Candidatures

23. At the multilateral level, Kenya will continue to make its contribution – in the implementation of the sustainable development goals, in advocating for environmental sustainability, advocating for the strengthening of the UN footprint in the global south and seeking reforms of the United Nations system.

24. As part of this engagement, we shall be seeking for a seat in the UN Security Council 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’s candidature is informed by the critical role of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) play in the maintenance of global peace and stability. In that regard, Kenya has served twice as a Non-Permanent member of the UNSC in 1973-1974 and 1997–1998.  As a country, we believe that Peace, security and development are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and neither can be achieved without the other. Addressing drivers and root causes of the absence of peace and security is of critical importance for Kenya.

25. Even as we go through the candidature process, we look forward to cooperating with all countries for more robust cooperation and engagement on issues of peace and stability and where Africa’s and developing countries sustainable development is realized.

26. We shall also continue to lobby for the recruitment of Kenyans in the international system in order to contribute to global programmes and governance.


27. The commitment of our government is to secure all Kenyans wherever they are. In this, my ministry will continue working to improve the framework for securing the interests of Kenyans abroad; and for enabling Kenyans to participate in the development of their motherland at home. In this regard, we shall fast-track the negotiations of frameworks that protect Kenyans when they are abroad, endeavour to assist them and also inform and urge them to undertake due diligence in order to avoid situations that could be harmful to them.  In this regard, we shall continue to strengthen the diaspora directorate within the ministry in order to serve Kenyans better.


28. As I conclude, I reiterate the availability and readiness of the ministry to share information and clarify any issue pertaining to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In view of this commitment, it is, therefore, my sincere hope that unverified, even wrong information on the state of our diplomacy and international relations will be a matter of the past.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

March 8, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *