State House outlines President Kenyatta’s 2016 travel schedule
President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to travel to Ethiopia on Friday, January 29th to attend this year’s African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa.
This will be one of the several international trips President Kenyatta will make in the first quarter of 2016 in a bid to strengthen the country’s ties with partner nations, according to State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu.
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AU Heads of State and Government Summit
During the event, President Kenyatta will voice Kenya’s position on a number of issues at the continental level, attend the Meeting of the Committee of Ten (C10) on the United Nations reforms and chair the 24th Summit of the Heads of State and Government participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
The Head of State will also attend a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council slated for Friday evening focusing on the issue of terrorism in Africa and a review of developments in South Sudan and Somalia.
On January 30th and 31st, President Kenyatta will join other African leaders at 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.
While in Addis Ababa, Kenyatta will also appoint the Bureau and Drafting Committee for 2016, discuss issues such as financing the African Union, governance, elections and constitutionalism, draft decisions of the Committees of the Union and adopt decisions and declarations of the Assembly of the African Union.
The Head of State will then travel to Israel in February before heading to France in March for official state visits.
Esipisu stated that Kenya and France are key allies in the fight against terrorism saying the visit by President Kenyatta will go a long way in strengthening the country’s activities against terrorism as well as boosting bilateral trade.
Last year, President Kenyatta came under sharp criticism over frequent number of foreign trips undertaken since he came to office in March 2013.
CORD leader Raila Odinga is among the political leaders who hit out at the President saying “there was need for the government to cut down on the number of trips in order to save the taxpayer from unnecessary financial burden”.
Visiting Heads of State
Similarly, the country will also host a number of Head of States including British Prime Minister David Cameron who is set to visit the country in June.
According to Esipisu, the visit by Cameron will culminate in the resetting of relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom, which the British PM called for when he met President Kenyatta on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last September.
A visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi that had been scheduled for February 1st has, however, been postponed with a new date to be announced later. State House did not give reasons for the postponement of the trip.
Already, the President has hosted a number of key delegations from partner countries including a meeting with US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday.
Besides holding talks with President Kenyatta, Secretary Jewell and Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judy Wakhungu also signed an MOU in which the US will help build Kenya’s technical capacity to combat wildlife trafficking, expand biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye will also make an official visit to Kenya during an unspecified time between April and early May.
“South Korea is a powerhouse in the tech and innovation area and we are looking to technology transfer as well as opportunities for our young people who have excelled in the innovation and enterprise fields,” stated Esipisu.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been the first Head of State to visit the country this year, in his first official visit to the country.
Buhari arrived at the Eldoret International Airport on Wednesday where he was received his host President Kenyatta before proceeding to the 9th Kenya Rifles, Moi Barracks, Eldoret for a special inter-denominational service to celebrate the lives of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers fallen in Somalia.