Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It’s a pleasure to see you all here again. The week ahead will be busy, but perhaps I had better begin by reviewing the last few days.
Hon Justice David Maraga
This past Thursday, the Judicial Service Commission nominated Justice David Maraga for Chief Justice.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is awaiting official notification of that appointment and when he receives it he will apply his mind and do what he needs to do within the timeframe set by the law.
State House Summits
As I have mentioned before, we will continue to host the State House Summits.
Our next one will be the Youth Summit on October 3. I need not tell you how important the youth agenda remains for this country: from unemployment to cohesion, to growth, there is not a single part of our national development effort that is not tied in some way to our work with youth.
Equally, I don’t need to tell you how central the youth agenda has been to this administration.
So, we shall meet on 3 October to consider carefully where we are with this matter: what are the consequences of the government’s youth policies?
What are the consequences of the empowerment funds? What can we do to hasten the pace of growth, and to spread entrepreneurship among the young?
As always, the event will be broadcast live, and we welcome your contribution online.
One on Governance and Accountability will follow this Youth Summit on October 17.
Foreign investment in Kenya
In the last little while, we have seen something of a surge in foreign investment in Kenya.
That surge continues. Recently, the US’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) opened an office in Kenya. OPIC offers support to US companies as they invest abroad, and to the disadvantaged in the countries in which those firms invest: OPIC already has a large portfolio worth of projects in Kenya.
And some of you will remember that when President Barack Obama was here, he mentioned that OPIC would be helping to fund Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Woman programme, which brings capital to female entrepreneurs around the world.
We are very pleased to welcome them to their new home in Kenya, and we are sure that this is the beginning of an even closer engagement.
In the last few days, some of you may have seen or heard discussion around a new Mombasa-Nairobi highway, and the government will be inviting expressions of interest in respect of the project.
I can confirm US investor interest in this Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway. Among the partners involved are Bechtel Corp., the United States’ largest construction and civil engineering firm, which will be supported in this endeavour by the United States’ Import-Export Bank and OPIC.
We are hopeful that these discussions will bear fruit, and that Kenya will soon enjoy the new infrastructure on the Nairobi-Mombasa route. More importantly, though, this is a show of continued massive international investor confidence in our economy and our country.
Visit of His Majesty King Abdullah II
And in our continued hosting of global leaders and events, we are pleased to host His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, tomorrow, Monday September 26.
Jordan and Kenya are partners of long standing, and during his time here, President Kenyatta and His Majesty will focus their attention on discussions regarding security and counter-terrorism. They will also witness joint military exercises.
Media are encouraged to contact the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) communications team which is responsible for accreditation for this event.
State Visit of His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of South Africa
This month, we will also welcome President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who needs no introduction. He is due to visit on October 11.
Kenya and South Africa have very strong ties, which go back to the days when men and women of courage supported the fight for freedom in each country: one might recall the days when the first President of Kenya spoke out strongly against apartheid.
This visit will renew and strengthen that relationship, especially important, now that both countries are leaders on the continent. Given their leadership roles, we look forward to close consultation and agreement especially on issues of trade and immigration.
This past week, an agreement was signed between AMISOM and the European Union, under which payments were made to soldiers serving in Somalia. The President warmly welcomes the agreement: it supports the African Union’s peace and security agenda; just as importantly, it keeps the people of Kenya, Somalia and the region safe.
All of us have followed events in South Sudan keenly. We all want an end to the violence and conflict that has already claimed thousands of lives. Kenya continues to support those efforts to attain peace, but we must reiterate that we will do so under the auspices of IGAD. It is best for the region if important decisions about this crisis, and any similar that might arise, are taken under that framework.
CITES conference in Johannesburg
On another international matter with national implications, theConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has convened in Johannesburg.
In 1990, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the international ivory trade after a decade of decimation in which the population of African Elephants halved from 1.3 million to 600,000 animals. During the same period, Kenya pursued an extremely aggressive anti-poaching strategy. Together, these development’s contributed to Kenya successfully bringing the poaching of elephants under control and beginning to see it’s elephant population recover.
However, where conservation history obviates that we have made some steps forward in the past, it also reveals where we have taken some back. Following the 1990 convention, the sale of ivory was re-permitted, albeit experimentally, in 1997 and again in 2008 under the CITES framework. The goal was to allow for the exchange of ivory stocks between four Southern African countries, and Asia. But these sales had the negative effect of reinvigorating and exacerbating the illegal trade. Consequently, our elephant population is once again in peril.
According to recent scientific reports, between 2010 and 2012 some 100,000 elephants were lost to poaching across Africa, and there is no evidence to suggest that number has diminished in the years since. It is also estimated that over 1,000 rhinos were poached last year in South Africa alone.
The trade is simple. Demand for illegal products drives supply. Deal with the trade, requires aggressive law enforcement, effective elephant ivory and rhino horn movement control and influential market dis-incentivisation.
So, we will aggressively seek a total ban on ivory trade at this Johannesburg CITES meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a pleasure. Thank you. I will now take questions.
Manoah Esipisu, MBS
Secretary of Communications &
State House Spokesperson