TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Kenya: Foreign Affairs Secretary meets ambassadors in the US ahead of Kenyatta-Trump meeting

Friday, 24 August 2018

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma is already in the United States ahead of a scheduled visit to the White House by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.

Upon her arrival at the Dulles International Airport on Wednesday, the CS held talks with 28 African resident ambassadors on trade cooperation with the US post-African Growth and Opportunity Act framework (AGOA).

She also engaged the ambassadors on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The CS later addressed the American Society of Travel Agents at an event convened by the Kenya Airways to popularize the launch of direct flights from Nairobi to New York in October this year.

President Kenyatta is expected in the US at the weekend ahead of his meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday.

Announcing the White House visit, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on August 6 said the two leaders would seek to broaden existing ties on common interest areas.

“Kenya is a vital partner of the United States and President Trump looks forward to discussing ways to broaden the strategic partnership based on our shared democratic values and mutual interests,” she said.

Sanders said at the time the meeting will also feature discussions on stability on the African continent and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

“The meeting between the two leaders will reaffirm the longstanding relationship between the United States and Kenya as a cornerstone of peace and stability in Africa and the broader Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

CS Juma told Capital FM News on Aug 15 that President Kenyatta and Trump will explore ways of bolstering the existing cooperation in trade through AGOA as well as capacity building in the area of security with the specific focus of enhancing Kenya’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“We are going to be discussing ways in which we can increase our quantum in volume into AGOA. We’re the key beneficiaries of AGOA so far but there are also a number of lines within the framework that we could enhance,” she explained.

“We also hope we can begin discussion on post-AGOA arrangements because we’ve seen huge appetite in that direction,” she added.

On returning to Nairobi after the meeting with Trump, President Kenyatta will be preparing to host British Prime Minister Theresa May on August 30.

May’s visit will be the first visit to Africa since taking over from David Cameron in July 2016.

According to CS Juma, bilateral engagements between Kenyatta and May will mainly be focused towards the delivery of President Kenyatta’s Big Four development agenda, which will form the President’s legacy when he leaves office in 2022 after serving for his second and final term.

The visit by May will mark the second time a sitting British Prime Minister has visited the country after Margaret Thatcher’s 1988 visit during President Daniel arap Moi’s tenure.

In his engagement with May, President Kenyatta will also seek to secure Kenya’s business interests post-Brexit in addition to proposals that will improve the ease of trading with Britain.

Already talks are at an advanced stage to have the United Kingdom visa office re-established in Nairobi to ease the process of acquiring travel documents by Kenyans.

CS Juma had said in an earlier interview wide-ranging changes had been made at the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons in bid to guarantee the integrity of travel documents.

“Our documentation today is above par. We have in place e-passports with enhanced features and a lot of work has happened in terms of ensuring the integrity and security of our documents from the birth certificates to the identity cards,” the CS said.

According to Juma, talks with May will also focus on strengthening the existing security pact between Kenya and the UK.

The war against corruption will also feature in talks between Kenyatta and May, Juma reaffirming President Kenyatta’s commitment to restore integrity in the governance system.

“We really are at a good place in terms of our national agenda which aligns very well to the entire democratization, transparency, and accountability agenda globally,” she said.

 

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