President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Washington DC on Saturday afternoon for a landmark official visit that will see him hold talks with US President Donald Trump and also meet executives of top US companies to promote Kenya as a preferred investment destination.
The President, accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, touched down at Dulles International Airport at 4:00 pm Washington DC time (11:00 pm, Nairobi time on Saturday) and was received by a team of senior US and Kenya government officials led by Kenya’s ambassador to the US Robinson Njeru Githae.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Monica Juma says the President’s visit to the US is significant in many aspects.
“It underscores the importance of Kenya-US relations, a relationship that is historical and that has been growing in both breath and depth over the years to cover a wide range of areas from security and defence to governance, trade and investment,” Amb. Juma said in an interview ahead of President Kenyatta’s arrival.
Amb. Juma sees the visit as an opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relations with the most “significant country in the world today”.
According to CS Juma, one of the items that will feature prominently during President Kenyatta’s historic meeting with President Trump will be how to increase Kenya’s export volumes under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“You know, we are a key beneficiary of AGOA. But it is also true that there are a number of lines within AGOA that we could enhance. And so, there will be discussions around this. And we hope we can also commence discussions on post-AGOA arrangements,” said Amb. Juma.
Speaking early this month when she announced President Kenyatta’s visit to the White House following an invitation from President Trump, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said the meeting of the two leaders is aimed at elevating the Kenya-US relations by strengthening cooperation in areas of mutual interest including security, trade and investment, governance and people-to-people interaction.
“The two leaders will also discuss regional and global matters, in particular, regional peace and security, collaboration in the fight against terrorism as well as international cooperation,” Ms. Dena said.
Addressing the press in his office in Washington DC on Friday, a day before the President’s arrival, Amb. Githae said he is keen on ensuring that the visit is fruitful.
“We do not want this to be just a symbolic visit. We want this visit to have a lot of deliverables. There are a number of projects that we are negotiating. We hope they will be signed on Monday in the presence of President Kenyatta,” Amb. Githae said.
Amb. Githae pointed out that Kenya places a lot of emphasis on economic rather than political diplomacy, adding that he was glad that President Kenyatta honoured the invitation from the US President.
President Kenyatta will on Monday morning meet business executives of leading US companies under the umbrella of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) before he heads to White House for talks with his host President Trump.