STATE HOUSE MEDIA BRIEFING ON 26TH JUNE, 2016

On June 26, 2016 In Statements and Speeches

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. We have quite a number of things to cover today. We will deal a great length with up coming foreign relations engagements, and then maybe at the end look at some domestic issues. ETHIOPIA–KENYA RELATIONS: The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn departed our country on Friday after a very fruitful three–day State Visit during which he held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on a number of bilateral issues. Widely reported was the deal on the oil pipeline linking Lamu to Addis Ababa and our plans to co-operate in our anti-doping endeavours. Less reported was the Prime Minister’s visit to Olkaria, to see for himself our geothermal plants firing our quest for clean energy, as well as his visit to coffee and tea farms to see how the smallholder farmers keep at the top of the game in a fiercely competitive environment. As Ethiopia is our strategic partner, our officials will meet monthly to ensure the agreements and MOU’s we have with them are progressed. BREXIT: Many of you have been asking about the President’s reaction to Brexit. Let me say this: The President is a believer in democracy as a principle, and the people of the United Kingdom exercised that right in voting to leave the European Union. Regardless of what outcome any world leader envisioned or supported, the people of the United Kingdom spoke and made their voice heard. Kenya, will, of course, maintain its historic ties with Britain, while continuing to engage a stable European Union. Both the UK and EU are critical to our country and to the development, peace and security of our region and the continent at large. Which is why, just as in the rest of the world, the exit has sparked interest and debate among Kenyans, many of whom are wondering how the development will affect us. Many have seen the UK’s currency depreciate and hit its lowest point against the dollar since 1985 and are concerned that this might have adverse effects for us.  Our Central Bank Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge has already addressed matters related to our currency. Indeed, Britain is a primary trade and development partner for us, as is the European Union. For the sake of clarity, it is crucial for all Kenyans to note that the referendum results do not yield an immediate exit. The exit will be negotiated over a length of time between Britain and the European Union, during which time the status quo will more or less remain the same. The immediate repercussions for Kenya are limited. However, with the exit, there will be need for both Kenya and the East African community to negotiate separate trade agreements with the United Kingdom. Our current engagements are within the framework of the EPAs with the EU. Our negotiation of a new framework for bilateral trade is something that, if needed, will happen over a period of time and we will continue to engage the United Kingdom on this issue. For now, we continue to watch developments closely, and the Foreign Ministry and other relevant departments are engaged in analyzing and putting in place measures that ensure we as a nation are not adversely affected. KENYA–BOTSWANA RELATIONS: Tomorrow, the President will leave for a three–day State Visit to Botswana where President Ian Khama will host him. The two Heads of State will discuss a number of issues of bilateral and regional significance. These include the Tripartite Free Trade agreement, which the President hopes will be ratified by all involved states soon; trade and economic ties with the southern African country, industry and manufacturing, mining and tourism. During the visit the two heads of state will address the 2nd Botswana–Kenya Business Seminar, which aims to exploit existing trade potential between the two countries. President Kenyatta will address the Kenyan diaspora in Botswana before returning to Nairobi. This has been a long–standing invitation and the President is pleased to be able to honour it at this time. KENYA–ISRAEL RELATIONS: On returning from Botswana, President Kenyatta will begin a month of frenetic activity when he hosts the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who will make a three–day State Visit to Kenya starting July 4. The Prime Minister will reciprocate the visit to Israel earlier this year by President Kenyatta. The relationship between both countries is strong and the two Heads of Government are keen to continue expanding and deepening that relationship. Israel is a critical partner to Kenya; with its development assistance in security and defense, agriculture and particularly irrigation, important investments here. The President expects that the two countries will continue to develop stronger trade relationships, and hopes to see an influx of investment from the Israeli business community. KENYA–INDIA RELATIONS:  Soon after this visit, President Kenyatta will host India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 10-11. This will be part of the Indian Prime Minister’s four-nation tour of Africa that will also take him to South Africa, Mozambique and our neighbor Tanzania. India is a strategic partner of Kenya; and the India diaspora in Kenya is strong and contributes actively to the Kenyan economy and socio–political environment. The two Heads of State will explore how to strengthen existing links between their countries, particularly with respect to trade. Bilateral relations between the two countries are warm and cordial. Diplomatic relations were established in early 1960s with the establishment of resident diplomatic missions in both Nairobi and New Delhi. Kenya also has a consulate in the commercial capital of Mumbai to increase consular and trade contacts. President Kenyatta visited India in October 2015 to attend the India-Africa Forum Summit. Such high level visits are expected to create the desired momentum for advancing relations between the two countries. The size of Indian investment in Kenya is steadily growing and there is potential for expansion with potential Indian investors having access to EAC, COMESA and AGOA markets. Through its Exim Bank, India has extended Lines of Credit valued at $61 million for the energy sector, $100 million for agriculture mechanization, $29.95 million for reviving the Rift Valley Textile Industry, and $15 million to the Industrial Development Bank for supporting Small and Micro Enterprises to Kenya. These Lines of Credit, two of which will be signed during the visit, will help to raise the level of Indian investment in the country.  A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement will also be signed during the visit and will serve to boost trade and investment. The Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) signed an MOU to establish a Joint Business Council in 1985. The JBC has met 5 times since its inception and during the Kenya India Joint Trade Committee meeting in 2015, both sides affirmed their commitment to revive it and hold regular meetings. There are plans to revive the JBC during the visit by the Prime Minister of India. With effect from July 2012, India’s imports of Soda Ash from Kenya are subjected to an Anti-Dumping Duty of between $20.35 and $28.86 per metric tonne. These charges make the export product expensive and less competitive and Kenya has raised the issue with the Indian authorities. Now, Kenya and India have co–operated for years in the health field and a number of projects will be looked at in this area. Cancer treatment: The Government of India has committed to set up a cancer hospital in Kenya where it will provide doctors and equipment and the Kenya Government provides premises. An MOU on health co–operation, which covers this project and areas of co–operation is being negotiated by both sides. The Government of India has offered an Indian-manufactured tele-cobalt machine for cancer treatment, whose effectiveness has been proven in over 15 cancer hospitals in India. The total package, including the initial Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) and training of technicians, will be undertaken by the Indian Government as Grant-in-Aid. Health Research: Under the commitments made in the India-Africa Forum Summit, Kenya and India will jointly host a scientific meeting for achieving excellence in disease control. Training and Capacity Building: India is offering training and capacity building for both doctors and paramedics and has requested the Kenyan side to indicate areas of interest. Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment: Out of the India-Africa Health Fund set up under the India-Africa Forum Summit III, the Government of India will donate essential drugs including Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) and medical equipment to Kenya. AU AND APRM SUMMITS IN KIGALI, RWANDA: In terms of multilateral meetings, the President is due to attend the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union due to be held on July 17-18 in Kigali, Rwanda. It is expected that the President will host a summit of nations participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) on July 16, also in Kigali. The theme of the July 2016 Summit is “African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on Women Rights”. During that time, His Excellency the President will also attend the Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting of Heads of State & Government. Kenya was elected into the African Union Peace & Security Council during the January 2016 Assembly. The PSC is the standing organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the African continent. The African Union Commission (AUC) elections are scheduled to take place during the July, 2016 Summit. The Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is not seeking re-election, thus her seat will be falling vacant. The seat of the Deputy Chair Erastus Mwecha, who is completing his second term, is also falling vacant. Other seats up for elections are those of the eight (8) commissioners of the different clusters, with Kenya’s Amb. (Eng.) Mahaboub M. Maalim from Kenya is vying for the seat of Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. UNCTAD: Finally, Kenya will host The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development conference here in Nairobi July 17-22. We are very pleased to be hosting such a prestigious event for the second time in forty years. The event should bring some 6,000 visitors to Nairobi. The conference will include:
  • A World Leaders Summit and the 5th World Investment Forum
  • The 7th Global Commodities Forum
  • A Civil Society Forum
  • 15th -17th July 2016, Regional group meetings-G77 Ministerial meeting
  • 19th -21st July 2016, Youth Forum
The conference promises to yield partnerships that will advance African economic growth and development. Thank you. Manoah Esipisu, MBS State House Spokesperson