NAIROBI, KENYA, SEPTEMBER 23 ― Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has returned to the United States for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, barely a month after his state visit where Kenya sealed a number of deals.
Kenyatta who left the country for New York on Friday night is expected to address the assembly, reaffirming Kenya’s commitment to multilateralism.
He is also expected to take part in discussions on peace and security and championing youth leadership and entrepreneurship.
However, this is not his only agenda; President Kenyatta will capitalize on the event to promote Kenya as an investment destination on the sideline of the assembly.
He will sell his “Big Four” agenda as part of promoting investment in Kenya, sources familiar with his trip have confirmed.
On his list is also cementing a place for national carrier Kenya Airways which is on its last steps to commencing direct flights to the US, with its flights expected to promote tourism and trade.
Under his “Big Four” agenda, President Kenyatta is keen to revolutionize manufacturing in the country –where the government is seeking to raise the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 15 per cent by 2022 from the current 11 per cent.
To achieve this, the government has been luring investors into the country while engaging local manufacturers on how best to support the sector’s growth.
Other arms of the Big 4 include affordable housing where the government is keen to provide at least 500,000 affordable homes in all major cities by 2022, consequently improving the living conditions for Kenyans.
President Kenyatta’s government is also focused on achieving universal healthcare and food security under his ambitious plan, which he expects input from the private sector.
His return to the US comes after last month’s visit where he met US President Donald Trump and discussed a number of issues including bilateral trade and regional security.
During the visit, Kenya sealed a number of deals with US entities, attracting financing in key projects on energy and food security among other sectors.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) and Kipeto Wind Energy Company signed documents to close a $232 million deal in financing the construction and operation of a 100-megawatt grid-connected wind power plant south of Nairobi.
The plant will provide a more reliable source of energy to the national grid and support the US Power Africa Initiative, aimed at doubling the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to electricity.
The second agreement was a $5 million letter of commitment to expand the distribution network of Twiga Foods and improve food security and agricultural wages in Kenya.
It was signed between Twiga Foods and Opic in the presence of President Kenyatta during his meeting with executives of leading US companies under the umbrella body Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).
Kenyatta called on the US government to facilitate the operation of US businesses in Africa.
“Kenya is open for business and all we want to do is package our partnership in a way that is mutually beneficial,” President Kenyatta said during the event.
According to the President, the ‘Big Four agenda’ presents major opportunities for local and foreign investors.
President Kenyatta’s government has been keen to improve the business environment in the country to attract investors.
Between 2014 and 2018, Kenya improved its ranking on World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI) by 56 positions from 136 to 80.
The government has set a target of getting to top 50 by 2020.
The General Assembly which has 193 Member States of the United Nations is expected to provide a perfect platform for President Kenyatta and his entourage to market Kenya, opening up the country for foreign investments.
Key issues to be covered at the 73rd General Assembly includes financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, peacekeeping, the fight to end tuberculosis and commemoration and promotion of the international day for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
It will also review the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.