Kenya President to Attend Trade, Peace Talks in France and Germany
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta will travel to France and Germany next month to attend trade and peace talks in the two nations.
Kenyatta’s busy travel schedule has been a source of much criticism of the president, however, State House said on Thursday the trips will provide a critical boost to cooperation against terrorism and trade improvements.
At a press briefing in Nairobi on Thursday, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told the press Kenyatta’s trip to France is critical in Kenya’s fight against terrorism. He said the president had been invited to the country by fellow leader François Hollande to discuss the latest terror attacks in both countries.
“The Presidents are seeking a strategic partnership that will stem the rise of violent extremism in Africa and the globe,” Esipisu said. “The leaders will consider how to enhance existing intelligence sharing mechanisms and improve Kenya’s security infrastructure.”
Kenyatta has also been invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss similar matters, but also trade, education, tourism and other development factors. Germany has been one of Kenya’s richest sources of tourism and the countries are working together to re-establish those ties. Last year German airline Lufthansa resumed direct commercial flights to Kenya after a 16-year absence.
Travel schedule criticised
The president’s travel schedule is a regular source of criticism in a country where public spending and corruption are two of the toughest topics. Kenyatta’s trip to France will be his second in less than six months, following his tour of Paris during climate talks. So far this year the president has travelled to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Isreal, Ghana and Tanzania on diplomatic duties.
Esipisu defended the president’s travel schedule on Thursday after questions were raised by reporters.
“The President’s trips are public and you can do the math. And while doing the math, compare that with other heads of State. Let’s not be fixated with the numbers,” he said.
“You can check all governments that are of significance in the global sphere and see how often their heads travel (abroad). The President’s travels are business, not pleasure and they are aimed at meeting the growing needs of the Kenyan people,” he added.
The spokesman also pointed out that the president will be visiting Kenyan counties Embu, Laikipia, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu and Machakos after his Europe trip. The tour is part of Kenyatta’s new domestic travel policy, which aims to have him work closer to domestic issues.
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