Tourism Cabinet Secretary Ms Phyllis Kandie. She said that Obama's trip and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) boosted Kenya’s credentials as a regional leader and investment destination. PHOTO | YVONNE KAWIRA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The massive agreements are expected to deepen Kenya-American ties.Fresh details of agreements worth up to Sh 1.2 trillion struck between the American government and Kenya during President Barack Obama’s historic visit can now be revealed.
This came as various groups, institutions and individuals took stock of the visit one week later.
Documents show that National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker signed a memorandum on a series of mega deals that have created a new economic development partnership that will see investments in the Lamu port, an oil pipeline, power plants, urban commuter rail and highways, and various projects in the health and tourism sectors.
The massive agreements are expected to deepen Kenya-American ties at a time when the Chinese are flexing their financial and diplomatic muscles.
The commercial arrangements signed between the US and Kenya governments include an investment of $9.5 billion (Sh900 billion) in the Lamu Port South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset) and an additional $7.55 billion (Sh755 billion) in the projected value of exports to flow through the same corridor.
The MoU will also see American company General Electric (GE) deliver 20 passenger trains to Kenya Railways (KR) to the tune of US$ 72 million (Sh7.2 billion). The passenger trains are expected to ease traffic congestion in Nairobi.
Wildlife conservation in northern Kenya also got a boost by the provision of financing valued at $20 million (Sh2 billion).
Cabinet Secretary for Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said that the impact of President Obama’s visit will be felt in Kenya for many years to come.
Ms Kandie said that the trip and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) boosted Kenya’s credentials as a regional leader and investment destination.
“The overall impact of GES and President Obama’s visit is huge for Kenya on three levels. Kenya enjoyed a positive spotlight globally.
It was a major boost for the tourism sector — and not just because of the fact that hotels in Nairobi and its environs were full in a short time but the long-term effect is that more visitors will now have the confidence to come here,” said the Cabinet Secretary.
According to the documents seen by the Sunday Nation, the American government also undertook to increase funding for the Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS Free Mentorship Programme (DREAMS/ACT) programme to the tune of $519 million (Sh51.9 billion).
“DREAMS is a two year $30 million initiative to reduce new infections in adolescent girls and young women in Kenya.
Working closely in partnership with the Government of Kenya and other key stakeholders, a country determined core package of evidence-based interventions that have successfully addressed HIV risk behaviours, HIV transmission and gender-based violence, will be implemented,” read the documents.
The documents also brought out the fact that Kenya has the largest level of funding globally for the US-led President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar).
The programme aims to “accelerate Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) in a two year, $28,169,122 initiative to reduce HIV morbidity and mortality of infants, children and adolescents (0-14 years) living with HIV in Kenya”.
According to the MoU, the Americans further undertook to have the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) invest in infrastructure development.
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will also put in funds although Kenya in turn offered the agency and OPIC tax concessions.
US GOVT'S INTERESTS
“The United States Government confirms its interest in supporting the development of strategic infrastructure priority projects in Kenya and promoting US private sector participation in such projects, and confirms its intent to engage, as appropriate and consistent with its authority, its constituent agencies and programmes including but not limited to those identified herein,” says the MoU signed by the two governments.
According to Kandie, Kenya now has the challenge of seizing the opportunity and building on it.
“We cannot afford to sit back and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
"The world, and especially Africa, is full of countries that are eager to achieve the same rewards as Kenya.