After weeks of friendly negotiations as partners, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Alfred Mutua, co-chaired the Kenya – United States Strategic Bilateral Dialogue with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington DC on April 25, 2023. The CS was accompanied CS Moses Kuria alongside other senior government officials.
During the bilateral session, and in five intense Pillar sessions they discussed and agreed on partnership in the areas of Trade and Investments for job creation and visas for youth empowerment, Health, Food Security, Climate Change, Regional Peace and Security.
JOBS AND VISAS
The United States is setting up a framework so that Kenyans can apply for jobs in the United States and speedily get visas to work in the United States. The United States was also working on modalities to speed up visa processing at the Nairobi embassy to reduce the long waiting times.
HEALTH AND JOBS
The United States committed to support Kenya’s universal healthcare program with a focus on epidemic control and manufacturing of vaccine and pharmaceutical production, which will also create jobs for Kenyans and transfer technology. They agreed on continuation of the support for HIV/AIDS medication to build capacity to produce our own within 5 years. They also hailed the deal with Moderna which will set a vaccine production factory in Kenya from this year.
FOOD SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The United States committed to facilitating Kenya on sustainable food production instead of food aid through water harvesting programs (Dams), value addition technology, and agribusiness technology to encourage our youth to embrace farming.
REGIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
The United States is one of the valued partners on Kenya’s efforts to stabilize the region for peace and security. They discussed many security and defence partnerships.
UPGRADING OF UNITED NATIONS OFFICE IN NAIROBI
Kenya is the only country hosting a United Nations Office in the global south – others being in New York, Geneva, and Vienna. This has led to economic prosperity for Kenya. The UN Office in Nairobi was established several decades ago and thus requires upgrading to meet international standards. The United States committed to support the project.
YOUTH and SME’s
The Bottom Up “hustler” economic model was acknowledged as a fantastic and viable model. They discussed partnerships in supporting youth programs, empowering our SME’s and growing wealth.
“Kenya is open for business,” CS Mutua told the American government. They held deliberations with the US Commerce department on how to entice American investors to Kenya. They were updated on US programs that can support American businesses to come to Kenya.
The CS expounded on the fact that with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, Kenya can be used as the hub for reaching the 1.3 plus billion African market. He explained the various Kenyan incentives that are second to none, and said he expects an inflow of American firms opening up businesses in Kenya.
“This is just a summary of over 50 specific issues we discussed and agreed on. Kenya is the only African country with this Strategic Bilateral Dialogue with the United States and we view the US as a great friend and partner” the CS stated and thanked Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Molly Phee, US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and their teams for the warm welcome.