Why Kenya is attracting world interest

What you need to know:

  • This year, Kenya has hosted foreign ministers from Iran, the US, the UK, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, Zambia, Rwanda, Turkey and Uganda among others.
  • Since January, 12 foreign ministers, foreign country representatives, a number of business delegations, top UN diplomats and several business leaders have visited Nairobi.
  • In April, Italy’s minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni was in the country, days after terrorists killed 142 students at Garissa University College.

World leaders have been flocking to Kenya in search of trade and investment opportunities as well as partnerships to combat global insecurity.

On Sunday, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said visits by the leaders is a sign Kenya holds an important position in the world.

“It puts paid to the talk that Kenya’s relationships with the outside world is in need of repair and silences those who doubted Jubilee government’s management of this country’s foreign policy,” said Mr Esipisu.

Since January, 12 foreign ministers, foreign country representatives, a number of business delegations, top UN diplomats and several business leaders have visited Nairobi.

This year, Kenya has hosted foreign ministers from Iran, the US, the UK, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, Zambia, Rwanda, Turkey and Uganda among others.

When Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif came in February, his office said he was keen on issues of ‘mutual interest as well as regional and international issues’ such as terrorism. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond came in March and talked of ‘our partnership for security’.

Iran and the UK have differed on several international issues but it appears Kenya has become a common friend in combating terrorism.

In April, Italy’s minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni was in the country, days after terrorists killed 142 students at Garissa University College.

He pledged Italy’s support in the war against terror and promised scholarships to survivors.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in May pledged Sh9.6 billion to combat extremism when he visited Kenya.

Last month, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Mr Matthias Fekl was Nairobi to launch a digital radio network system at the Kenya Wildlife Service. The system funded by the French government, is meant to help combat poaching.

State House argues these visits show just ‘how sharply Kenya has drawn the world’s interest’.

“These visits show that not only is the world’s interest in Kenya undimmed, but also that we are attracting interest from new friends and in new sectors,” Mr Esipisu argued.

Today, UK government’s Chief Scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport, will be Nairobi for two days, a visit said to be aimed at fostering closer UK-Kenya linkages on higher education and research and seeing the impact of UK-funded research in Kenya.

Sir Walport will tour the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) offices and the International Livestock Research Institute before meeting local researchers. Galvmed which conducts research on animal vaccines, has partly been funded by the UK to the tune of Sh11 billion.

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