20 June 2018

Kenya: U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade to Visit Kenya

Nairobi — A delegation of American businesspeople led by the Under Secretary for International Trade, Gil Kaplan, is expected in Kenya next week in a visit expected to deepen investment in the country.

According to State House Deputy Spokesperson, Kanze Dena, Kaplan will be accompanied by among others executives of Bechtel, Visa, IBM, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Acrow Bridge, Amethyst, Citi, and GE.

"The main aim is to strengthen economic partnership and exploring avenues through which they can invest in our economy," Dena announced at her inaugural media briefing since taking up the role of a Deputy Press Secretary at the Presidency.

She said engagements with the business leaders will be centred on investments under the Big Four development agenda areas.

"We are keen to ensure that our economy creates employment opportunities for our youth even as our economy grows," she pointed out.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has had a number of meetings with global business leaders including Victoria Mars, board member and immediate Chairperson of Mars Incorporated.

During a meeting with Mars on May 23, President Kenyatta commended Mars' subsidiary - Wrigley - for building a Sh7 billion factory in Athi River set to produce 7.8 billion pellets of chewing gum annually once opened later in the year.

The Wrigley factory which will serve the East Africa countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and South Sudan will see the firm raise its market share in Kenya to 75 per cent.

During the State House meeting in May, Mars pledged to invest in the country's economy in order to help the government achieve the Big Four development agenda of manufacturing, food security, affordable housing, and universal healthcare.

"Your goal to boost local manufacturing capacity is timely and offers a great opportunity to expand employment and job creation for Kenyans, while cementing the country's position as a key industrial hub in Africa. Wrigley is keen on growing and developing our business here and contributing to this noble objective," she said.

President Kenyatta has also held talks with World Bank Africa region Vice President Makhtar Diop on May 3 with whom they discussed initiatives towards the realization of the Big Four.

The visit by the Kaplan-led American delegation next week will come at a time when President Kenyatta will be reviewing the progress of the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway linking Nairobi to Naivasha.

In her media briefing on Wednesday, the newly appointed Deputy Press Secretary announced that the Head of State will visit Kajiado to inspect ongoing works with the conclusion of the Nairobi-Naivasha rail.

The project expected to be completed in June next year after the construction period was reduced from 54 to 36 months in August last year.

"The President is keen on ensuring that phase 2A is completed on time so that it can open up an economic corridor," Dena said.


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