Uhuru Kenyatta pushes for stronger trade ties with Israel

Tuesday February 23 2016

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked Israeli businesspeople to invest in Kenya's infrastructure projects.

At a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, President Kenyatta said such investments can help boost the balance of trade, which currently tilts in favour of Israel.

“It is my desire to see the volume of trade between our two countries grow even larger,” he told a gathering of Kenyan and Israeli government officials.

“Kenya has numerous investment opportunities and as a country, we are open to investors," he said.

President Kenyatta, who is on a three-day State visit to Israel used the occasion to refer to the need to improve transport and energy sectors which are key to boosting Kenya’s economy.

SECURITY COOPERATION

“Of equal importance is the energy sector to enable transition and reduce overdependence on hydroelectric power and fossil-fuel power and there is a need therefore for investment in green and renewable electric power, for example geothermal, wind and solar energy where Kenya is making some strong advances,” the President added.

President Kenyatta’s visit is also targeting security cooperation.

His host, Mr Rivlin, said Israel is willing to support the fight against terrorism.

“In Israel today we face an ongoing threat of terror and hatred. Israel stands together with Kenya against those who pretend to speak in the name of Islam as they murder innocent men, women and children.

“When I heard of a terror attack on Somalia, where many of your soldiers were killed, I was reminded of the terrorist attack in 2002 at the hotel in Mombasa when three Israelis were killed,” Mr Rivlin said.

PRIME MINISTER

He was referring to the November 28, 2002 incident in which Al-Qaeda-linked attackers blew up the Kikambala Hotel, killing 13 people.

President Kenyatta said there is a need for cooperation because terrorists target all people.

“Kenya, like Israel, is faced by numerous security challenges which require attention and resources to confront. It is therefore my wish that the cooperation on security matters and sharing of intelligence between our states is enhanced to meet the new and increased threats,” he said.

Earlier, President Kenyatta met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

President Kenyatta and Mr Netanyahu signed agreements on irrigation and agriculture, in a move to strengthen ties between Nairobi and Tel Aviv.

President Kenyatta said Kenya was keen to partner with Israel in the agriculture, security and Information Technology sectors.

Tuesday was the start of official events for the Kenyan leader, who arrived in Israel on Monday.

He is accompanied by Cabinet secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Joseph Nkaissery (Internal Security), Eugene Wamalwa (Water), and Cleopa Mailu (Health).