Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen
Welcome to today’s briefing here at Kisumu State Lodge.
Fourth Anniversary of President Kenyatta’s Inauguration
I’m pleased you could come, not least because we mark a special anniversary today: President Kenyatta was sworn into office exactly four years ago today. It is, if you like, the birthday of this administration.
We all recall the solemn ceremonies of that April 9th, four years ago. The President and Deputy President William Ruto took their oaths of office, and we had a peaceful transfer of power, according to the will of the people of Kenya. These things are precious in themselves; they are things that make us, as a nation. We mark and celebrate them.
As we mark the day, and we look back at the journey we have travelled since. What a journey it has been — what an extraordinary Kenyan journey, as the President put it in his State of the Nation address. In these four years, we have seen the establishment of the new constitution; we have seen the establishment of devolution; we have seen the deepening of our democracy; and we see that our people today are healthier — life expectancy has risen since 2013 — and quality of life is improved on aggregate on April 9th 2013.
Let’s review the highlights. Virtually every substantial piece of legislation required for the establishment of the new constitution has been passed by the 11th Parliament, assented to by the President.
It is under his administration that the counties were set up; it is under his administration that the counties have received more than double the constitutional requirement of 15%, for a total of more than a trillion shillings. If you consider these facts, together with the fact that this administration has set up critical new institutions that manage inter-governmental relations. It is clear to us that the country is making progress.
Even amid the transformation in governance, we ought to keep our eyes on the lives of ordinary Kenyans. Here, too, the transformation since 2013 is clear for all to see. President Kenyatta’s administration promised that every expectant mother would deliver her child under skilled medical care; in 2017, we have more than doubled the number of our mothers who deliver their children in hospital, to 1.2 million. In 2013, we promised to connect every primary school in the Republic to the national grid; in 2017, 98% have that connection. In 2013, we promised to build a new railway from Mombasa to Kisumu; and we promised that it would be in Nairobi by June 2017. This is Kenya’s most ambitious infrastructure development since independence, and I can assure you that well before August, we will ride the train all the way from Mombasa to Nairobi.
I know we don’t often set aside the cares of the day to look to the big picture. But today is a good day to do just that. And if we turn our eyes to the big picture, we will see the transformation unfolding before our own eyes.
These are not just stories. Ask the people of Shimanyiro and Eshisiru markets in Kakamega. Their markets are now lit, meaning that they can engage in business longer. Ask the people of Luanda and Esibuye markets in Vihiga. The story is the same.
Last week, I told the story of how no county has been left behind in electricity delivery. Let me recap for Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya, since I am here.
For instance, the status of connectivity in Homa Bay County as at February 2017 was 47,212 households compared to only 11,071 in June 2013 – an addition of 36,141 connections. This represents an increase of 326%. Additionally, In Siaya County, the number of households that have been connected to the grid currently stands at 58,420 households, compared to 14,168 households in June 2013, representing an increase of 312%. In Kisumu County 172,027 households were connected in the same period compared to 42,177 in June 2013. This represents 308% increase in electricity connectivity in Kisumu County – the largest increase in connectivity countrywide.
In regards to primary school connectivity, 914 primary schools in Homa Bay County have been connected to the national grid. This is an increase from 212 primary schools in June 2013, an increase of 331%. In Siaya County, 674 primary schools have been connected to the grid, an increase of 138% from 283 primary schools in June 2013. Additionally, here in Kisumu County, 577 primary schools have been connected to the grid, representing an increase of 127% (254) primary schools as at June 2o13.
Launch of the Delivery Portal
Tomorrow, in Nairobi, President Kenyatta will launch a public information portal where the tiniest details of the Jubilee administration investments of the last four years can be traced, and the impact vivid for all to share. The portal will showcase various National Government programs and projects across the country. We encourage Kenyans to join in on the event, which be broadcast live on a number of media stations.
State Visit by the Emir of Qatar
Secondly, at the invitation of His Excellency President Kenyatta, the Amir of the State of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al–Thani, will pay a State Visit to Kenya this Tuesday, on 11th April, 2017. The state visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen the good relations existing between both Kenya and Qatar.
The Republic of Kenya and the State of Qatar formally established diplomatic relations on 28th December 2003. Kenya opened an Embassy in Doha, Qatar in 2010. Similarly, Qatar opened her resident Embassy in Nairobi in April 2012.
Over the past decade Qatar has posted robust economic growth buoyed by strong hydrocarbons revenues, state–led infrastructure development and a stable financial sector.
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) with a per capita income estimated at US$ 129,700. The huge hydrocarbon deposits and the extraction thereof have propelled Qatar into a wealthy nation within a short period of time. Qatar is a leading exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
The booming economic growth in Qatar provides numerous business and investment opportunities for Kenyans including engineering and construction, subcontracting; supply of food products (Qatar is a net importer of both fresh and processed foods); it also offers hotel and restaurant businesses and employment of Kenyan youth.
Kenya has signed several agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields of cooperation with Qatar. In the upcoming state visit to Kenya by the Amir of Qatar, several MoUs and Agreements are expected to be signed and several others will be discussed. The agreements that will be signed will include the Agreement on Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research as well as the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation.
The tradition with State visits is now fairly well known to you. Formal welcoming ceremonies include an honour guard and a 21-gun salute, a tête–a–tête with the President, bilateral talks and, in this case, a state luncheon.
The Amir is also travelling with a strong contingent of business leaders. We expect that they will strike deals with their Kenyan counterparts at a business forum also scheduled for tomorrow.
A news conference is not planned at the end of the bilateral talks. Instead a joint communique will be issued.
Visit by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and a Trade Delegation
On Wednesday, the President will meet His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia will pay a courtesy call to President Kenyatta, where a number of issues of mutual interest to both our countries will be discussed.
Separately, Dr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Commerce and Investment will lead a delegation of 80 investors and Entrepreneurs to Kenya. He will be hosted by his Kenyan Counterpart Adan Mohamed of Industry and Trade. The investors have interests in agriculture, energy, construction, transport, healthcare among others. This delegation is organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Council of Saudi Chambers.
Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves of petroleum in the world (16% of the proved reserves), ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. Saudi Arabia is world’s 15th largest exporter of crude oil and oil products.
Kenya and Saudi Arabia have signed a general agreement on cooperation which touches on economic, trade and investment. Kenya exports to Saudi Arabia in 2015 amounted to USD 55.5million while imports from Saudi Arabia amounted to USD553.1million. As you can see, trade is in favour of Saudi Arabia. Kenya’s major exports to Saudi Arabia in 2015 included tea, coffee, vegetables, textile materials, jute, fruit and nuts, fruit and vegetable juices, meat and meat products among others.
Potential Kenyan export products to Saudi Arabia include: Live animals, meat and meat products, coffee, dairy products, horticultural products (fruits, vegetables and flowers), Fish and fish products, commercial crafts and tourism.
As you may be aware, hyacinth has been a problem in these parts for the last 15 years or so. Hyacinth is an invasive species, which implies that it grows exponentially. Consequently, it has been a problem getting rid of the plant. The growth of hyacinth is exacerbated by the effluent going into the lake.
The Ministry of Environment, together with the Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme are working to get rid of the hyacinth. Equipment is currently being purchased that will harvest the hyacinth. Additionally, 500 NYS cohorts are currently working to harvest the hyacinth.
The hyacinth has a number of uses, key among them is the making of packaging material as we move from plastic bags as well as in the generation of electricity.
President Kenyatta sends a message of goodwill to all Kenyans as they celebrate Easter weekend, next week.
Easter is an important part of the Christian faith, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.