Kenya: President Kenyatta's presence at US Africa summit 'expected to end frosty relations'

Kenya: President Kenyatta's presence at US Africa summit 'expected to end frosty relations'
US President Barrack Obama and First Lady Michelle (centre) pose for a photo with President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) at White House during a dinner with African heads of state
Published
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 ~ Jackson Okoth

The US has recently cut down its embassy staff in Nairobi and also pushed back funding for various projects and programmes in the country.

This has impacted negatively on business and stakeholders are hoping that President Uhuru Kenyatta's presence at the ongoing US-Africa leadership forum in Washington DC will end the frosty relations between Kenya and the US.

"We hope the issue of lifting travel advisories will feature prominently.

We are losing a lot through cancelled tourist bookings," said Kenya Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association Chief Executive Officer Michael Macharia.

The USAfrica leadership summit, which ends today, provides the two nations with an opportunity to reassess their relations. The US remains an important trading partner and the source of more than 50 per cent of Kenya's inward remittances.

"The US recently bought 66 per cent of our Eurobonds and is a strong counter-terrorism partner. Therefore, Kenya has everything to gain from encouraging this relationship," said Aly Khan Satchu, an independent analyst in Nairobi. An inter-ministerial Government committee is in the US seeking an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

"Kenya's textile industry is picking momentum after failing to satisfy the AGOA market for some time now. We need to have a trickle-down effect of this trade instrument," said Anthony Muriithi, the acting chief executive officer of Cotton Development Corporation.

"Recent discoveries of oil, gas and coal in parts of Eastern Africa have changed relations between the US and Africa," said Gerrishon Ikiara, a senior lecturer of economics at the University of Nairobi.

 

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