BELGRADE, Serbia, February 20, 2020….Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Ababu Namwamba, who is on a historic official visit to Belgrade, Serbia has urged Serbian companies to invest in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda across Manufacturing, Food Security, Affordable Housing and Universal Healthcare projects as a sustainable foundation for increased trade volumes and closer ties between Nairobi and Belgrade.
“Kenya is keen to leverage on Serbia’s expertise especially in manufacturing with your strong industrial base in automobiles, machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food processing,” CAS Ababu noted in bilateral talks with H.E Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. The CAS encouraged Serbian investors to take advantage of Kenya’s conducive business environment, describing the country as “an established regional economic hub, attractive and safe investment frontier, a gateway to East and Central Africa and a natural springboard into the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area of 1.2 billion people”.
He highlighted that Kenya and Serbia continue to enjoy cordial and beneficial relations first established through the warm friendship between Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Yugoslavia’s iconic leader Josip Broz Tito, whose evolved party Premier Dacic is leader of today. “Our historical ties have stood the test of time and been manifested in our close cooperation on multiple fronts.
“Today this special friendship is evidenced by the commitment of Serbia confirmed by your excellency right now to support Kenya’s bid for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) non-permanent seat for the period 2021-2022 in the vote to be held in New York this June. Kenya thanks Serbia most sincerely, and promises to serve the world well in our classical style that places a premium on rule-based multilateralism defined by respect, unity of purpose, consensus, dedication and sacrifice”, Ababu assured and pinned Kenya’s official campaign badge on Mr. Dacic’s coat lapel to signify Serbia’s support for Kenya’s bid.
Hon Ababu has had a busy schedule in Belgrade, conducting a whirlwind of bilateral engagements aimed at sealing cooperation in key areas of mutual benefit to strengthen and deepen relations between the two friendly countries, including trade and investment, tourism, security, sports and culture, technical training, ICT, technological transfer and scholarships for Kenyan students. His first appointment was with his Serbian Counterpart H.E Nemanja Stevanovic, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and they agreed to cooperate in trade and investment in Big 4 Agenda programs, tourism, security, scholarships and multilateralism.
In a meeting with Prof. Bojan Tubic, Assistant Minister for Education, Science and Technological Development, the two ministers agreed to cooperate in education, specifically twinning of Foreign Service Academies, Universities, Technical Training Institutes, teacher and student exchange programs, scientific research and scholarships. CAS Ababu further met Ivana Dedic, Serbian Assistant Minister responsible for Contemporary Arts and Creative Industry, Ministry of Culture and Media. They discussed Cultural Cooperation through twining national museums and archives, theatres, libraries, festivals and artists of Kenya and Serbia.
Hon Ababu also graced the 42nd Belgrade International Fair and visited the Kenyan exhibition booth. The exhibition, officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications H.E. Rasim Ljajic aims to promote tourism and investment.
CAS Ababu took some time off this relentless schedule to pay respect to the memory of iconic Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito at the National Museum’s House of Flowers where he and his wife rest eternal. Tito had a strong bond with Africa, playing a significant role in the liberation struggle against colonialism. He visited Kenya on 13 February, 1970 as guest of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta with whom he forged a tight personal bond. An avid hunter, among the artefacts displayed at his museum are horns of an antelope from his wild game hunting safari in Kenya.
The CAS concludes his visit with two further meetings with the Ministers for Agriculture and for Sports, respectively, to explore cooperation in food security and possible support for national football team Harambee Stars, including training camps in the midst of world cup qualifiers.