Kenya’s bond with US is unbreakable, Uhuru tells Americans
The President said Kenya, like many other countries, was taking advantage of business opportunities in the East and has at no time made a decision to turn away from its traditional allies.
“I want to reassure you concerning a rumour going round the international public sphere that Kenya and my Government have turned away from the West in favour of the East,” he said.
President Kenyatta said Kenya’s trade deals with countries from the East has not impacted in any way on the historic bonds it has with the US and other Western nations.
He said Kenya’s economy was getting more sophisticated and such maturity was naturally driving the country to extend itself globally, including exploring opportunities in the East to complement its existing partnerships.
He emphasised that Kenya’s bonds with the US are born of shared values and would not be broken easily.
“These values impelled our independence movements to partner with the United States to secure the ideal of freedom from colonialism, racism, exploitation and exclusion, and to pursue the principles of democracy, human rights and free enterprise,” he said.
He said there should be no anxiety about Kenya’s relationship with the US, which he described as eternal.
“Every time Kenya and the US have collaborated on any project, the world has witnessed spectacular success,” he said.
He said one of the collaborations that changed American and world history was the one facilitated by JF Kennedy and Tom Mboya where Kenyan students were airlifted to study in the US during the 1960s.
President Barack Obama’s father was one of the Kenyan students who went to study in the US.
The President told US investors to view Kenya as the destination of choice for their business.
He said his Government was aware of the keen interest and confidence American investors have in Kenya and its future outlook.
“Recently, when we floated our inaugural Euro bond, there was 500 per cent oversubscription, 60 per cent by American investors,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the Government is now dedicated to making the country a favourable investment and trading destination through proper policies.
He called on American firms to take advantage of Kenya’s strategic location and its position as the economic powerhouse of the Eastern and Central Africa region.
The Head of State added that the East African Community economic bloc makes Kenya and the other member countries a prime location for investors.
“Already, we are a common market, and are putting finishing touches on a single customs union while there is broad agreement and steady progress towards a political federation,” he said.
The President said the mining and petroleum industry in Kenya provide massive investment opportunities that call for more partnerships.
President Kenyatta said Kenya was dealing with security threats that have recently posed a challenge to the country and the region’s business environment.
He said Government has increased investment and expenditure in the security sector by five times.
“Kenya is involved in anti-terrorism cooperation with many regional and international partners. Among our stalwart allies in these efforts is the United States,” he said.
The President spoke at a business forum organised by the Bloomberg Foundation, which also included a networking breakfast session.
The topics dealt with at the forum included the new era of business in Africa, financing the Africa of tomorrow, leading developments in infrastructure and shaping the future of a fast growing continent.
President Obama also attended the forum at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington DC.
On Wednesday, President Kenyatta attended the final session of meetings involving President Obama which focused on Africa investments.
President Kenyatta was scheduled to meet Kenyan diaspora in the US at a hotel in Washington Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the President will have another meeting with American CEOs at a forum organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), which represents major US companies. He is also expected to meet former US undersecretary Jendayi Frazer.
On the same day, the President will hold a meeting with World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.
He will later hold discussions with the Brookings Institute at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Thursday evening, the President will attend a dinner hosted by CCA where he will speak on opportunities for increased trade and investment with the US.