President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly later in the month at a time when relations between Kenya and many of its key allies has been substantially restored after a rocky start to his time in State House.
In 2013, amid sharp differences between Kenya and many European countries and America over the cases at the International Criminal Court, President Kenyatta opted to stay away from New York and wrote a letter to the UN Secretary-General indicating that he could not leave the country while Deputy President William Ruto was attending hearings at The Hague.
Kenya’s relations with key Western allies have been transformed since and the visit to Nairobi by President Barack Obama was seen as marking the turning point.
After the recent visit to Kenya by Italian PM Matteo Renzi, the country is set to host the Pope in November and will also provide the venue for the 10th World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in December.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, a former Chair of the WTO’s General Council, has been credited with helping to steer Kenya’s renewed ties with key partners.
Speaking after the announcement of Kenya as the host of the key WTO meeting, she described the nomination of Nairobi as an honour to Africa.
“It is not only Kenya’s pride, but the pride of the entire continent,” she said.
Perhaps the most high-profile meeting Kenya will host is next year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development, that attracts the attendance of all African heads of state. It is expected to be one of the biggest events the country has hosted in decades.
Since 1993 it is usually held in Japan. It will be hosted in Kenya for the first time in Africa.
No less that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected and the heads of the United Nations, the African Union Commission, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.
“There are not many countries which can host a conference of such magnitude and it is an honour that Kenya was picked out of all the countries in Africa,” Mr Mikio Mori, Japan’s deputy ambassador, told the Sunday Nation. Kenya handled the Obama visit very smoothly,” said Mr Mori.
The selection of Kenya is viewed as another prominent example of the country’s rising place in regional and world affairs under Ms Mohamed’s tenure at Foreign Affairs.
Key Japanese companies, especially in the automobile industry are here. In 2013, Toyota Kenya opened a Sh500 million (US$5.5 million) assembly plant in Mombasa. Honda Motorcycle Kenya Ltd. opened a motorcycle assembly plant worth Sh450 million.
In 2014, Nissan said it would open an assembly plant in Kenya subject to tackling erratic power supply.