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.
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.
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.
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