President Uhuru Kenyatta starts US tour with forests pledge

President Kenyatta addresses the Africa Rising Forum at the Africa Centre in New York, USA. Musician Angelique Kidjo (left) and Delaware Senator Christopher Coons were among the panellists. PHOTO | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kenyatta outlined Kenya’s efforts to combat climate change.
  • The President was the fifth speaker in one of the morning sessions.

Kenya is restoring its forest cover and encouraging the use of environment-friendly means of transport to reduce emissions, President Kenyatta has said.

In a speech at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday, President Kenyatta, who is on a tour of the US, told world leaders that climate change was “a serious global challenge that continues to affect Africa’s socio-economic development.”

Mr Kenyatta outlined Kenya’s efforts to combat climate change, which include using locally available renewable energy resources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power.

Kenya is developing a national transportation policy that encourages non-motorised and other sustainable forms of transport, he said.

The nation is also striving to protect its natural resources through initiatives such as making more efficient use of water.

The President was the fifth speaker in one of the morning sessions on Tuesday when heads of state presented their views on climate change.

FINANCE HEALTH

Earlier, the President hosted a meeting at the UN headquarters where he urged African countries to finance their health services instead of waiting for outside help.

He said Africa was rising economically, but the fruits of this transformation would only be sweet if proper investments were channelled towards health.

Mr Kenyatta said that health was as important as any other sector such as infrastructure, and Africa should get its own solutions.

“We have always depended on external help for health services, but we have to mobilise domestic resources and find our own solutions instead of moving from one crisis to another,” the President said.

The meeting, whose theme was Domestic Financing for Health: Invest to Save was sponsored by Kenya and the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He said the Kenyan Government planned to raise health funding to 15 per cent of the total budget from its current level “in future”.

Mr Kenyatta, who was the key speaker and also a panellist at the event, asked African governments to improve transparency to attract support and investments.

The President will present a policy address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday and to hold bilateral talks on Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

FORUM ON INVESTING

He is also expected to travel to Washington on Thursday for a forum on investing in Kenya sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa before he returns to New York in the evening for a meeting with local members of the Kenyan diaspora.

A similar meeting is planned for Boston on Friday.

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