US delegation looking for investment opportunities in Kenya
As Kenya and the United States of America open up to each other in pursuit of closer political, economic and trade links and with US President Barack Obama’s visit next week, Kenya is intense with activity.
Several American delegations have been here in recent weeks to explore and discuss various mutual activities ahead of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on July 25-26.
Most recently a strong American business delegation visited Kenya to explore the possibilities for cooperation and investment in an economy that is transforming rapidly.
The recent discovery of several valuable minerals, including petroleum and natural gas, has increased Kenya’s attractiveness to investors from different parts of the world.
When he met with top American government officials and business executives at State House, Nairobi recently President Uhuru Kenyatta invited US companies to play a role in developing a modern public transport system for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Mr Kenyatta urged the Americans and other interested companies to invest in the construction and running of a rail system to ease traffic congestion in the city.
To save the country millions of shillings in fuel and man-hours that get squandered on a daily basis in traffic congestions within and around Nairobi, the government wants to develop a mass transit system that should discourage use of personal cars and the resulting grid-locks that usually have devastating effects on the economy.
Nairobi is a modern city with a rapidly growing population which requires a proper mass transit system.
The American trade delegation that met Mr Kenyatta was led by US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
The trade mission, which included the US Assistant Secretary for Global Markets Arun Kumar, and more than 30 business executives, was here to develop trade ties with Kenya.
The meeting was also attended by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohamed, acting Transport secretary James Macharia and Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohamed.
Relations between Kenya and the US have blown hot and cold in the past few years due to several factors, including the cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Mr Kenyatta (now withdrawn) and Deputy President William Ruto.
There has also been some friction over Kenya’s fast growing links with the increasingly powerful China.
Kenya’s strategic economic, geographical and political position in the region is now gaining recognition globally.
During the State House meeting, Mr Foxx announced the US government’s interest in the Lamu Port SoutSudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project, which will link Kenya to its northern neighbours and provide a major economic boost to the country by opening up much of the hitherto neglected northern parts.
It is now several decades since Kenya and the US had direct flights, after the collapse of some American airlines such as Pan Am.
Relations between Kenya and the US are now set for a major strengthening when Mr Obama comes to Kenya, the land of his father.
Almost everything required is now properly set for a boom in both private and public interaction between the two nations.