German Chancellor Angela Merkel today called Kenya a strategic partner after landmark talks in Berlin with President Uhuru Kenyatta, which focused on security, investment, trade and innovation.
President Kenyatta arrived in Berlin at the start of a three-day visit, flying in from Paris, where he was hosted by French President Francois Hollande. He held one hour of talks with the Chancellor, which aides on both sides called cordial, business-like, and very fruitful. “Kenya is our strategic partner,” Merkel told a news conference. “We are looking to deepen our relationship further.” Strategic partnerships are the highest level of diplomatic engagement between friendly countries. Germany is ranked the 4th largest investor in Kenya representing around 10% of direct and indirect commercial interests in the country. More than 100 German companies operate in Kenya. President Kenyatta, at the news conference, urged more Germans to take advantage of the conducive environment to invest in infrastructure development in the country. “The investment value for Germany companies in Kenya is about $120 million, creating over 4200 jobs” he added The President welcomed more German investments to take advantage of the wider East and Central Africa market following the signing of the COMESA - EAC and SADC Tripartite Agreement. “Kenya has numerous investment opportunities and is open to international investors. One area which has tremendous potential is in the infrastructure development, which requires substantial investment on an annual basis”, the President said. Asked whether the Chinese were crowding out European companies from huge projects in Africa, Chancellor Merkel said Europe needed to be faster in structuring deals attractive to Africans – something she said the Chinese appeared to be a step ahead. President Kenyatta underscored the need for the International community to cooperate on security threats posed by global terror networks. The President said while African countries were working together to dismantle terrorist groups like Al Shabaab and Boko Haram, there was need to work with the international community to deny them room to operate. The Chancellor said President Kenyatta had made a strong case against the EU reducing funding of the African mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and assured that her government would put into consideration the request. Thanking Kenya for being at the forefront in the war on terror, the Chancellor pledged to continue supporting all initiatives to make the globe safer.