Kenya gets greenlight to export labour to Israel

Wednesday February 24 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of bilateral talks in Jerusalem. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI 

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Kenya has up to three months to draft a framework for exporting labour to Israel, one of the main deals agreed to during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s state visit.

Kenya's foreign ministry will have to come up with the draft proposal to reverse the declining number of Kenyan workers in the Jewish state.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told the Nation she would push to have workers in hospitality, agriculture and education work in Israel.

“We agreed to start a conversation on the number because they are only willing to take a few and we must also put into consideration that it is demand-driven,” the CS said on the sidelines of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s state visit.

President Kenyatta said it was important for Kenyan workers to come to Israel and gain practical knowledge especially on agriculture. “We have negotiated to have Kenyans work here to gain experience in working in different firms.”

According to Kenyan Ambassador to Israel Agostino Njoroge, the number of Kenyan workers in Israel has gone down from 2,000 to 200 in the last 10 years, a decline of over 90 per cent.


Israel imposed tough immigration laws under which thousands of foreigners were expelled to address security issues it continues to grapple with.

Mr Njoroge said Kenya was angling for an agreement to have recruitment agencies contract Kenyan workers for short stints in the Jewish state.

He said the Philippines and Indonesia had made such arrangements, which have allowed thousands to benefit from opportunities in agriculture.

President Kenyatta also wants to raise the number of students taking up vocational training on agriculture in Israel.

Under the Galana Kulalu food security project, the Israeli government is providing a Sh3.5 billion grant for training. About 100 young Kenyans will get free training on irrigation engineering in Israel every year for six years, with the same training model being replicated at various Kenyan institutions of higher learning.

President Kenyatta on Wednesday met the first batch of 25 students who are already in Israel to start training on irrigation agriculture.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Egerton University have also sent 25 students each to Israel to gain practical lessons on agro farming.

President Kenyatta also walked away with commitment for joint security training with the Israeli government as well as an expanded memorandum of understanding on agriculture.