The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s foreign trips saying they have helped project Kenya’s image globally and to promote the country as an investment destination of choice.
Speaking Wednesday while presenting the ministry’s third quarterly press briefing, Juma revealed that President Uhuru has made 49 foreign trips since 2013, all of which she said have helped consolidate Kenya’s relevance internationally.
“Looking back to the last six years, I can confidently confirm that the high-level diplomacy paradigm has yielded manifold outcomes in three broad spheres; Kenya has established solid and productive relationships across the world – in Africa, Middle East, Americas, Europe, Asia and the other parts of the world,” she said.
Juma added: “Nairobi has become one of the most visited capitals for foreign heads of state and heads of government and preferred destination for international meetings and conferences, and most fundamentally, interest and investment in our country has grown a thousand fold – translating into economic growth.”
The CS said this year alone the president has had six high-level foreign trips that were aimed at fostering engagements that support the economy particularly the Big 4 agenda, social development; as well as regional peace and security.
She said one of the trips, the one to Cuba between March 14 and 17, saw the president strike a deal for the deployment of 100 Cuban medical specialists to Kenya’s public health facilities.
The deal also saw 50 Kenyan medical practitioners travel to Cuba for post-postgraduate training.
Another notable foreign trip that Uhuru has made this year is the one to the US between August 24 – 27 where he struck two business deals worth Sh23.7 billion.
Uhuru’s most recent foreign trip was to Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.
During the trip that ignited public debate about Kenya’s dalliance with Chinese loans, Uhuru secured Public Private Partnership for two infrastructural projects – a 30 km expressway from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Westlands and the Development of Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones in Mombasa.
Kenya also secured a deal to benefit from Sh6 trillion announced by President Xi Jinping to support development in Africa as well as Sh1 trillion Chinese Private Sector investment in Africa, among others.
“Besides the specifics outlined above, the engagements offered the opportunities for closer bilateral collaboration with the countries involved in line with the aspirations of Kenya’s Foreign Policy as Kenya strives to entrench her leadership as an economic power within the region as well as achieve a desirable competitiveness globally,” CS Juma said.
According to Juma, Kenya’s exports have been on a gradual increase as a result of the country’s growing foreign economic partnerships.
She said Kenya’s foreign exports across the world grew by 3.8 percent to Sh5.7 trillion between 2013 and 2017 and registered almost one percent growth between 2016 and 2017.