Strengthen Kenya-US ties

The arrival of Ms Meg Whitman, the new US ambassador to Kenya, is welcome news. The new diplomat has come in at a crucial time, filling up a post that has remained vacant for nearly 18 months.

In that vacancy, several issues were unclear such as the status of US-Kenya relations and whether Washington would abandon previous commitments.

Now is our hope that her arrival is the first sign of strengthening bilateral relations between Nairobi and Washington. Next week, Kenya will head to elections.

The polls will be decisive in ensuring whether we have a smooth transition or stall in another dispute. And the US has been key partner on this democratic journey, including supporting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and Judiciary to ensure these institutions work better. Our hope is that US will continue on this this journey.

Of course there are other areas that had remained unattended for lack of an ambassador. The US-Kenya trade relations had remained in limbo. Two weeks ago, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade Betty Maina launched a new US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP), listing eight priority areas to feature in future trade negotiations.

Ms Whitman will be a key person to see how Kenya can benefit in these areas that include agriculture, digital trade, environment and climate change action. There is also a load of issues to deal with such as good regulatory practices, micro, small and medium enterprises support, labour rights, women and gender rights, quality standards and trade facilitation.

We feel this is the best time for Nairobi and Washington to renew their ties and strengthen their cooperation in areas that will support our journey for democracy, integration and prosperity of the Kenyan people.

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