Boost Africa’s Share of Global Manufacturing Output, CS Amina Mohamed Urges


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I warmly welcome you all to Kenya and to this inaugural Manufacturing East Africa Conference and thank all the organizing partners for putting this Conference together here in Nairobi. This is not only a reflection of the strong ties between Kenya and South Africa, but also our commitment to explore opportunities for shared growth and prosperity.

The theme of this Conference, ‘Enhancing Manufacturing Competitiveness in Africa’ is timely and most appropriate. It addresses Africa’s most pressing needs – namely accelerating the pace of poverty reduction, narrowing income gaps by increasing labor productivity and generating more decent and productive jobs. These critical imperatives can only be achieved by strengthening Africa’s manufacturing base.

It is instructive that this Conference and our conversation this morning, is taking place during an exciting period dubbed, ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’ which is being driven by emerging technologies – among them digital connectivity, innovative value chains and business models as well as artificial intelligence. These rapidly evolving technologies could render traditional industrial patterns obsolete. The times therefore demand a great deal of creativity. This historic meeting assembles great minds to offer smart solutions to enhance Africa’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although we have witnessed major positive developments on many fronts, Africa’s share of global manufacturing output remains low. In 2014, according to UNIDO, Africa commanded a meager 1.5% share of the world’s total manufacturing output, compared with a 21.7% share for the Asia-Pacific region, 17.2% for East Asia and 22.4% for North America. These statistics represent the prevailing trend with the latest estimates – for the third quarter of 2016 – showing that manufacturing output growth decelerated in Africa, recording only a marginal rise of 0.5%.

The Asian economies, as we all recall, were in much the same position as Africa a few decades ago. Gradually, these economies diversified their economies and expanded their manufacturing sector which in-turn transformed them into the highly competitive global manufacturing hubs that they are today. This transformation enabled them to generate millions of jobs and to, uplift the livelihoods of their people remarkably.

In 1981, East Asia had the highest poverty rate with nearly 80% of its population living in absolute poverty. By 2005, that percentage had dropped to 18%. Today, the reality of products made in Taiwan, made in Korea, made in India and made in China – ranging from T-shirts and shoes, to watches and televisions – are all familiar in shops and supermarkets across the world.

The manufacturing transformation that occurred in these economies is not only possible to replicate, but capable of yielding even greater results for Africa.

Consider this; it took Germany 60 years to double its economy (GDP), the United Kingdom, 150 years, and the United States, 50 years. The UK and the US industrialised with a population of about 10 million each. India and China, the largest emerging economies took only 16 and 12 years respectively to double their economies[1] starting with a population of roughly, 1 billion people. In real terms, India and China experienced growth at an unprecedented rate, taking only a fraction of the time taken by advanced economies.

With these growth figures in mind, further consider the following; the 10 fastest growing countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. In the past 15 years, and with a population of 1.2 billion people, Africa has doubled its GDP from 2% to 5% and is about to triple it. With full actualisation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) which brings together the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC), a mega market comprising of 26 countries with a population of 600 million and a GDP of USD 624 billion will transform our continent and afford us massive opportunities for trade and manufacturing setting the pace for a Continental Free Trade Area. We must be ready. That is why this Conference and every effort to strengthen, diversify and expand our manufacturing base, is monumental.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The key to unlocking Africa’s immense potential lies in structural transformation: the shift from low to high productivity. The current terse structural transformation in Africa is attributable to several factors, including: the lack of a sufficient skills base, trade restrictions, difficulties in acquiring modern technologies and an under performing structural economic infrastructure in terms of energy, roads, rail, and ports. Manufacturing, as a core component of the process of industrialization is essential to deliver high productivity.

These constraints notwithstanding, it is increasingly acknowledged that Africa has the potential to become one of the world’s critical low-cost manufacturing hubs. With the appropriate mix of policies, the large pool of cheap labour, abundant raw materials and low-cost agricultural products, Africa is in an ideal position to be the most attractive and cost-effective region in which to create and market goods. In fact, McKinsey and Company estimates that with continued improvements to the business environment, manufacturing output could rise from $500 billion in 2015 to $930 billion by 2025 ̶ a significant 69% increase.

To realize this potential, we must focus on strengthening Africa’s position in regard to the top drivers of manufacturing competitiveness. According to the third quarter of UNIDO 2016 Report, talent remains the top driver of competitiveness followed by cost, productivity and supplier network.

As a priority, we must focus on nurturing the appropriate talents for manufacturing. This will involve developing a sufficient skills base particularly in science, technology and innovation. Moving into the future we must work out methodologies of acquiring and mastering advanced manufacturing technologies which will be key to unraveling future competitiveness.

Secondly, to be cost effective, Africa should focus her industrialization drive on areas where we have comparative advantage, especially in agriculture and the extractive industries. Agricultural products and extractive materials are readily and affordably available and can form the basis of future industrialization in Africa. Moreover, it will be easier for the continent to move up the ladder of value chains through these sectors, which will also pave the way for the development of industrial clusters and the growth of SMEs as backbones of our economies.

Thirdly, we must create a public policy environment favorable to manufacturing and also deliberately focus on building necessary industrial infrastructure. Appropriate industrial infrastructure should include industrial parks and special economic zones while a suitable environment should involve pursuing manufacturing supportive policies especially around the areas of technology transfer, science and innovation, energy and transport infrastructure.

The Governments of Kenya and the Republic of South Africa have exhibited admirable political will in eliminating the barriers hindering manufacturing and trade between the two countries. The recent Joint Trade Committee convened by both countries is a clear indicator of this commitment. This Conference is an even bigger boost to our mutual aspirations of national and regional economic prosperity.

Africa must accelerate the process of economic integration. Presently, trade restrictions remain higher in Africa than any other part of the world. This is what accounts for the low level of intra-Africa trade at only 12% compared to 60% in Europe, and 35% in Asia.

With these remarks, I wish you all very fruitful deliberations and welcome you to Kenya for business. Karibuni Sana.

Thank you


Kenya Signs Declaration of Intent on National Counter Terrorism with Netherlands

Press Statement by Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed during the Joint Press Briefing with H.E. Bert Koenders, Netherlands Foreign Minister on April 13, 2017 

  1. I take this opportunity to once again welcome to Kenya H.E Bert Koenders, The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
  1. Kenya has had a long standing relations with the Dutch Government more specifically in the Health Sector. Philips and Unilever Companies have been in Kenya for a long time working through the UN System to ensure that Kenya achieves Universal Health care goal.
  1. Public Private Partnerships will be key drivers in achieving this particular goal. President Kenyatta has also prioritized the efforts toward achieving universal healthcare goals and demonstrated it with the passage of the free maternal health care bill.
  1. Today we have witnessed the signing of a Declaration of Intent between Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the National Counter Terrorism of Kenya on Cooperation in Countering Violent Extremism.
  1. The document was signed by H.E. France Makken, Amb. of Netherlands to Kenya and Amb. Martin Kimani, Director of the National Counter Terrorism Centre, and the President’s Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism.
  1. At this point I wish to welcome my colleague and Friend H.E Bert Koenders to address the media and there after H.E will take one or two questions.

        THANK YOU



Dynamic Diplomatic Field Requires Well Trained Officers – CS Amina Mohamed


 Amb Monica Juma, the PS Foreign Affairs,

Dr Ludeki Chweya, Director General Kenya School of Government,

John Mwangi, Director Kenya School of Adventures and Leadership,

Amb Kelebert Nkomani, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,


Colleagues Foreign Affairs

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome you all to this graduation ceremony for the newly inducted 36 Foreign Service Cadets and 3 young Foreign Service Officers. I would also like to congratulate the Foreign Service Cadets, Class of 2017 for successfully completing the three month long induction course, which I understand was comprehensive and very rigorous.

Today’s graduation ceremony is the first Cadet graduation since the unveiling of the Foreign Service Academy in August last year and the second one since the establishment of the Foreign Service Institute in 2006. Indeed todays’ graduation, has scored a number of firsts including: the first Cadets to be trained under the Kenya Constitution 2010; the first Cadets to be trained in the newly established Kenya School of Government; and of course, the first to be trained during my tenure as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs. I therefore wish to congratulate the staff of the Foreign Service Academy for this achievement.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Foreign Service Academy for developing a comprehensive three month curriculum for the Cadets. I take note of the support the Heads of Directorate and members of Staff within the Ministry and officials from other State Departments and Agencies have provided to this three-month long induction training for the Cadets. You have done this within the context of tight work schedules and high demand on your time. This engagement is testament of the commitment we all have to building capacity of these young Foreign Service Officers.

 I also wish to register my appreciation to all present today including retired Ambassadors, colleagues from diplomatic missions’ resident in Nairobi and colleagues from the Ministry. It is a clear demonstration of the commitment that we all have in collaborating on matters of mutual interest.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we all appreciate, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs discharges important responsibilities that are at the core of our national interest. These include promoting our economic and commercial interests abroad; negotiating  treaties and agreements to protect and promote our national interests; playing  an active role in conflict prevention and crisis management in our region and beyond, managing our bilateral relations as well as working with international and multinational organizations.

These critical responsibilities require well trained officers who are knowledgeable enough to competently navigate an increasingly dynamic global environment. It is for this reason that the Ministry has continued to place great importance to the training of Foreign Service Officers

This has however been a journey for the Ministry. In the past, Officers joining the Ministry were trained ‘on the job’ after which they would be sent out for courses designed for junior diplomats offered by different institutions of learning. (Cabinet Secretary to talk about her experience as a Cadet in the Ministry).

The Ministry now has in place relevant programs offered through the Foreign Service Academy for newly employed officers, for staff on posting and capacity enhancement for serving officers. The Foreign Service Academy does this in collaboration with other government institutions and institutions of higher learning in Kenya including the University of Nairobi, Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University. I must at this point single out the Kenya School of Government which has been a supportive partner in this journey, and was host to the training program for our Cadets. We are also keen to explore possibilities of partnerships with our development partners in building a strong team of professionals.

Ladies and gentlemen,


We recognize that profound changes have and are occurring in the field of diplomacy making the conduct of traditional diplomacy more complex, while adding significant new and demanding functions and activities to the diplomat’s portfolio. Moreover, rapid and accelerating changes in technology, especially communications technology, have further broken the frame of traditional diplomatic practice.

This is not to forget the ever changing international landscape of diplomacy. We are today facing the prospect of the rise of multipolarity as opposed to the unipolar world order that emerged after the fall of communism. We are also now witnessing the emergence of major transnational challenges the most important being climate change, cybercrime, terrorism and drugs trafficking. Globalisation is also coming under threat while the refugee and immigration crisis are worsening with the rise of populism in parts of the world.

These challenges are complex and underline the need for our officers to place a premium on more learning in order to broaden their horizons, sharpen their perspectives and keep abreast with unfolding dynamics. They call for cutting edge analytical skills as well as incisive negotiation capabilities. I note with satisfaction that the training programme for the Cadets addresses some of these needs. As you report to the Directorates that you have been deployed to, I urge you to apply what you have learnt during the last three months, keep an inquisitive mind and learn from the seasoned and experienced officers so as to enhance your skills set. It is also important that you enroll in academic programmes that will equip you for the conduct of diplomacy in the 21st century.

Fluency in at least one foreign language is an important skill that Foreign Service Officers need to be effective in their duties. The Foreign Service Academy has been working to equip Officers with basic language skills in some of the official languages of the United Nations. To the Cadets, I urge you to take up a foreign language if you don’t already have the skill, you will find it useful particularly during your tour of duty out of the country.

My concluding word to the graduands, therefore, is that the journey does not end but rather starts here. Looking into the future, the Foreign Service will require highly trained multi-disciplinary professionals capable of operating in a multitude of strategic, analytical, and programmatic environments. You have laid the foundation and I wish you well as you build on it.

Finally, I thank our partners who have supported us in training our officers. You are part of our success story and we look forward to continued collaboration in this effort moving into the future.

Thank you



H.E Faure Visit will lay Firm Foundation for Harnessing Cooperation – CS Amina


Your Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Kenya,

Your Excellency Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles,

Your Excellency, Hon. William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya,

 Excellences & Senior Officials of the Government of Seychelles,

Colleagues Cabinet Secretaries,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you all to this luncheon hosted by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E Margaret Kenyatta in honour of H.E. Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles, and his distinguished delegation.

The State visit to Kenya by H.E. Danny Faure is a reflection of the warm and enduring partnership between Kenya and the Republic of Seychelles. Mr President, we are very grateful to you for visiting our country and assure you of Kenya’s readiness to deepen our bilateral engagements and in particular to enhance our trade and investment relations.


Our two countries have a long history of cooperation. For many years, we have cooperated on issues of common interest especially in maritime security and transport, tourism and fisheries as well as the export of skilled manpower from Kenya.

Kenya greatly values this partnership and is keen to work with the Government of Seychelles in concluding all the outstanding instruments of cooperation under consideration.

I am confident that our engagements during this visit will lay a firm foundation for harnessing our cooperation across the full spectrum of our national endeavours.

Before inviting H.E the President to speak I would like you to join me in congratulating our first lady H.E Margaret Kenyatta for the honour bestowed on the country in her appointment as  fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Cape Town South Africa for her role in women and children health care.

With these remarks, it is now my honour to invite, H.E President, Uhuru Kenyatta to address us.

Thank you




Kenya, Republic of Korea Hold 4th Joint Economic Committee Meeting

The 4th Joint Economic Committee (JEC) meeting of the Kenya-Republic of Korea (ROK), took place in Nairobi on April 3, 2017.

The JEC, a channel for regular high-level consultations on economic diplomacy between the two countries, had Amb Tom Amolo Political and Diplomatic Secretary and Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Tae-ho leading the two delegations respectively.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Agreed Minutes, which contain the results of their discussion.

The meeting reviewed the current state of trade and investment flows and the overall economic relations between Kenya and the ROK. Kenya is ROK’s largest trading partner in East Africa and traditional ally that has recorded annual average growth rates of over 6 per cent in recent years.

The two sides also discussed;

  • Ways for Korean companies to participate in Kenya’s economic development plan Vision 2030;
  • Ways to enhance trade and investment between the two countries, and;
  • Ways to expand economic cooperation in a range of areas, including human resources development, science and technology, and e-government.

During the visit Mr. Lee paid a courtesy call on Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed, and discussed issue of mutual interests between the two countries including respective regional security.