LONDON, 19th APRIL 2018, (PSCU) — President Uhuru Kenyatta today joined other Heads of Government at the Commonwealth leaders’ summit whose objective is to increase world prosperity.
The opening ceremony of the summit was held at the Buckingham Palace and was presided over by Queen Elizabeth II.
The summit is being attended by the leaders of countries that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and is focusing on mechanism to boost intra-commonwealth trade to $2 trillion.
Trade and investment between Kenya and post-Brexit Britain are one of the priority issues on President Kenyatta’s agenda during the summit.
The UK has been a strong trading and diplomatic partner for Kenya. 220 UK companies worth £2.7 billion operate in Kenya and employ 250,000 Kenyans.
President Kenyatta is a strong supporter of intra-Africa trade and has championed the adoption of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The agenda for the Commonwealth leaders includes talks on the promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, supporting small and vulnerable states and recognition of opportunities for economic development from the ocean.
During the leaders’ roundtable meetings, President Kenyatta is expected to speak on issues that are a priority for Kenya including promotion of inclusive growth and countering violent extremism and cyber security threats.
President Kenyatta is also expected to present Kenya’s efforts in championing sustainable economic development of Oceans and coasts
Kenya is one of the 20 states that are members of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation, which also have special interests in maritime transport and navigation.
Kenya will, later this year, co-host the Blue Economy Conference which will be a precursor to the 2020 United Nations Oceans conference.
The blue economy conference is geared towards supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
The discussions on Kenya’s role in the blue economy is expected to come up when the leaders discuss the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
Kenya has requested for the Commonwealth’s involvement in capacity building to increase Maritime Domain Awareness among its littoral Members that may lead to taking ownership of their maritime security.
It will also request for the extension of cooperation in Maritime Security to cover other illicit maritime activities such as Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; smuggling of oil as well as trafficking of drugs, arms and persons.
Kenya will further ask for stronger multilateral efforts to control toxic waste dumping and marine pollution which are the more pressing day-to-day challenges for coastal nations in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Guinea Region.
Kenya also supports the call for member countries to continue supporting women and youth-led mechanisms that enable their meaningful participation in economic growth and peace building processes.
President Kenyatta is scheduled to have meetings with a number of leaders attending the conference.
He has, at the sidelines of the commonwealth forums, already held discussions with President Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), President Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique) and President Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana). The President has also held talks with American business magnate Bill Gates.
The President is in the UK to market Kenya as a preferred investor destination.
On Tuesday, the President was given the honour of ringing in business at the London Stock Exchange where he also addressed investors on the vast business opportunities existing in Kenya.
On Tuesday afternoon, he attended a Kenya-UK business forum where investors showed increased appetite for investment in Kenya especially in the area of geothermal power development and the establishment of an international arbitration centre in Nairobi.
On Wednesday, the President participated in an Africa Leaders Roundtable where he spoke on the benefits of intra-Africa trade and its usefulness in making Africa prosperous.
In the afternoon, the President spoke at a Global Malaria Summit where he stressed that the eradication of malaria is at the top of his four pillar economic agenda for sustainable development in Kenya.