Ambassador Mohamed Gello of Kenya said, “To date, Kenya and Korea have witnessed exchange of high level visits which have greatly enhanced our relations, and in July this year the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, accompanied by more than 70 Business Executives visited Kenya.”
Speaking at a reception he hosted at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 11, 2018 in celebration of the 55 th Anniversary of the Independence of Kenya, Ambassador Gello added, “The Prime Minister His Excellency Lee Nak-Yeon, and the President of Kenya His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, held bilateral talks to enhance Korea’s role in Kenya’s economy especially with reference to the achievement of the Big Four development agenda.” See further details at the end of this report.
The party was attended by Korean and international guests, as well as the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps with their spouses. Among the guests in attendance were Foreign Policy Advisior to the Prime Minister Choo Jong-youn of the Prime Minister's Secretariat and Deputy Speaker Lee Ju-Young of South Korea’s National Assembly and Ambassadors Chafik Rachadi of Morocco, Sripriya Ranganathan of India, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Stephan Auer of Germany, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Matilda Swilla Masuka of Tanzania, Difie Agyarko Kusi of Ghana, Emma-Françoise Isumbingabo of Rwanda.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Mohamed Gello:
His Excellency, Ambassador Amb. Choo Jong-Youn, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic Korea, Excellency, Lee Ju-young, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Excellencies Ambassadors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Guests, Fellow Kenyans, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening, Annyeong Haseyo,
It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to this celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Kenya. Thank you for honoring us with your presence. I would especially like to thank our chief guest Ambassador Choo Jong-Youn, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Honorable Lee Ju-young, Deputy Speaker of the Korean National Assembly and President of the National Assembly’s forum for Africa’s New Era and Mr. Hong Jin-wook, the Director General for African and Middle Eastern Affairs Bureau.
On this Day, Kenyans express gratitude to the valiant men and women whose efforts and sacrifices gifted us independence on 12th December 1963. We remember among others the founding fathers of our nation, whose aspirations continue to inspire our efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous country for which they struggled. Their sacrifice, service and generosity remind us time and again of our sacred duty to safeguard our heritage. We equally celebrate all those who have continued to advance the course of democracy and the rule of law.
Kenya has made significant structural and economic reforms that have resulted in sustained economic growth, social development and political gains. Additionally, the new constitution of 2010 has provided the necessary impetus for: the enhanced role of Parliament and citizen participation; a tenured judiciary; and the most progressive bill of rights. All these have cumulatively made government more accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizens.
In his inauguration speech, in November 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta, outlined his vision for the next 5 years of his second and final term. This vision birthed the Presidential Legacy Project dubbed the Big Four Agenda whose singular aim is to catalyze growth with focus on four key sectors. These include: supporting value addition and raising the manufacturing sector's share of GDP to 15 per cent by the year 2022; guaranteeing food security and nutrition for the Kenyan population; provision of universal health coverage; and the provision of at least 500,000 affordable houses by 2022; with each component receiving significant budgetary allocations as evident in the 2018 budget policy statement.
Consequently, Kenya’s economy remains resilient due to its diversity and a rebound in economic activity is rapidly gaining momentum. According to the World Bank Economic Outlook, the economy is expected to attain a Gross Domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 per cent in 2019. Kenya ranks 61 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings having moved up 19 places from 80 in 2017. This translates into innumerable opportunities for trade and investment across key sectors most notably agribusiness, energy, infrastructure, education, ICTs, housing, health, tourism and hospitality. The deliberate effort by the Kenya Government to invest in infrastructural development offers sufficient incentive for potential investors in addition to the ready market of approximately 45 million and a youthful, highly skilled human resource.
In seeking new frontiers for sustainable economic resource harnessing and enhancing Kenya’s profile as the premier destination for conferencing, we hosted the High Level Blue Economy Conference on 26th-28th November, 2018 in Nairobi alongside Canada and Japan. The conference was the first of its caliber and magnitude to be held in the global south. At the core of the conference was advocacy for the engagement of relevant stakeholders in the full implementation of the provisions of Agenda 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other existing collaborative instruments to govern marine resources such as the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
At this juncture, I take this opportunity on behalf of the Government of Kenya, to express deep appreciation for the support and participation of the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The participation of representatives from government, private sector and the academia served to enrich the content of the conference through knowledge sharing on the successful mainstreaming of the blue economy as a critical pillar for economic growth and an avenue for greater cooperation in fisheries, marine research and shipping sectors.
The Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Korea enjoy excellent bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations on February 7th 1964. These relations have enabled both countries to broaden and deepen cooperation in the political, economic and cultural fields. The two countries share similar views on many regional and international issues of common concerns. It is in this context that Kenya supports efforts to establish peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy.
To date, Kenya and Korea have witnessed exchange of high level visits which have greatly enhanced our relations. In July this year the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, accompanied by more than 70 Business Executives visited Kenya. The Prime Minister His Excellency Lee Nak-Yeon, and the President of Kenya His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, held bilateral talks to enhance Korea’s role in Kenya’s economy especially with reference to the achievement of the Big Four development agenda.
As a follow up to the visit by the Prime Minister, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Monica Juma, visited Korea in October this year and met with the Prime Minister and other high ranking officials from the government of Korea including: the 1st Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Cho Hyun and the President of the Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA) Ms. Lee Mikyung.
With respect to bilateral trade, Korea remains a key partner in supporting the development Agenda in Kenya particularly since the establishment of the KOICA Office in Nairobi in 2008. The volume of trade between Kenya and Korea has shown a steady increase over the years. Our premium coffee, tea and flowers have found recognition in Korea. We continue to partner with critical agencies most notably KOTRA, KOICA, KOIMA, KCCI, Korea EXIM Bank and more recently the Korea-Africa Foundation to increase the value and volume of trade between our two countries.
With regard to regional matters, as a country we fully appreciate that Kenya’s future is inextricably linked to our neighboring countries and the African Continent at large. For many decades Kenya has been at the center of regional peace processes and has chaired and worked with neighbors on many peace initiatives within the sub-region contributing to peace efforts in Somalia, South Sudan and the Great Lakes Region.
Kenya also continues to play a leading role in fast-tracking regional and continental integration so as to boost intra African trade as part of the efforts to reduce economic marginalization of Africa in the global economy. It is in this context that Kenya became the first country to sign and ratify the recently launched Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement that creates a single market and free movement of people on the African continent.
As I conclude my remarks, I would like to thank the people and organizations that have worked closely with us throughout the year. Kindly accept my gratitude for all the support you have given me in pursuing my duties with continued enthusiasm.