- Chief Guest, Hon. Jeremy Lefroy, MP and Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kenya, Tanzania and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia;
- My Lords, Honourable Members of Parliament, and Senior Representatives of Her Majesty’s Government;
- Excellencies the High Commissioners and Ambassadors and Heads of International Organisations;
- Distinguished Guests;
- Fellow Kenyans, Ladies and
It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you all to the 55th Jamhuri Day Celebration which commemorates the momentous occasion when Kenya acceded to her place in the family of nations as an Independent and Sovereign Republic after a long and hard struggle for self determination.
On this day we take stock and reflect on the gains we have made and the challenges we have encountered in our endeavours to build a united, cohesive and equitable nation in which all citizens can live together in dignity and peace and look forward to enjoyment of progressively improving standards of living.
We as a Nation can justifiably be proud of the many milestones we have reached over the years in our pursuit of economic development and social progress.
The Government of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta is committed to implementation of policies and programmes which aim to harness the inherent resourcefulness and resilience of our people and channel it towards achievement of the development goals that we all desire.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Kenya has made notable progress in laying a foundation for a vibrant and modern economy that provides a platform for sustainable growth and improvement in the welfare of our people.
There are several major infrastructural projects at various levels of implementation, which once complete will have significant positive impact on the diversity and rate of our economic expansion.
H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta is steadfast in his resolve to institute and maintain a business friendly environment and an economy that is attractive and open to all bonafide investors while ensuring steady progress in the improvement of conditions that are conducive to establishment and growth of local small and medium sized enterprises.
Comprehensive review and reform of the business regulatory framework has seen marked reduction in red tape and duplication of roles of regulatory agencies which has resulted in significant gains in efficiency and economy in starting and operating business in the country.
These improvements in the business environment have been recognised by the World Bank which has placed Kenya among countries with the fastest improvements in its ease of doing business ranking, from position 80 last year to 61 this year.
On the occasion of his inauguration for the second and final term of office, H.E. the President announced the launch of the ‘Big Four’ Agenda under which his government would concentrate and prioritise by 2022, the following :-
- Grow the manufacturing sector and increase its contribution to GDP from the current 9% to 15%,
- Promote and support the development of decent and affordable housing, beginning with construction of 500,000 units spread throughout all areas of the country,
- Develop and implement policies and programmes to ensure food and nutritional security;
- Roll out a universal, accessible and affordable National Healthcare System.
This Agenda can be delivered only through a combination of public and private sector participation in financing and knowledge, expertise and experience sharing and the projects under the Big 4 Agenda provide a selection of business opportunities for investors.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The UK continues to be a valuable partner in Kenya’s economic development and a major source of private investment capital. It is the largest European foreign investor in Kenya and one of the leading source markets for Kenya’s tourism.
The High Commission is committed to deepening and intensifying these relations. Indeed, Kenyans and friends of Kenya gathered here today are our frontline ambassadors and we would like to call for your support in achieving these objectives.
Currently, The UK is looking to renew its role in the world while renegotiating ties with its close European Union allies. It is Kenya’s desire to continue having seamless trade relations during and after Brexit. This is to ensure predictability and continuity of the existing market access conditions to the UK as well as Foreign Direct Investment flows to Kenya.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Peace Diplomacy is a central pillar of Kenya’s Foreign Policy. We believe that the security and prosperity of Kenya is inextricably linked to that of her neighbours. As such, it is our strong desire to see that our neighbours are stable, peaceful and prosperous hence our continued engagement in peace initiatives within the region.
Kenya and the UK have collaborated on various security and counter-terrorism matters under bilateral frameworks. We will continue collaborating with the United Kingdom drawing on their long experience in peacekeeping, anti-terrorism work, and state rebuilding.
To the Kenyan Diaspora, the Government of Kenya recognizes the pivotal role you play in the transformational socio-economic development of our country. It is in this regard that the Government has made deliberate policy measures to harness the invaluable Diaspora networks, opportunities, successful business ventures and influence developed over decades, to expedite our economic growth and development.
On the consular front, I wish to inform that the High Commission in London provides various consular services key among them being to facilitate applications for passports, National IDs, regaining of Kenya citizenship among others.
You may also be aware that the Kenya Government introduced e-passports with effect from 1st September 2017 as per the East African Community protocol.
The old passports are still valid until 31st August 2019. Since the launch, e-passports applications were only processed through the local centres in Kenya. Efforts are being made to cascade this service to Missions abroad. In this regard, London has been earmarked as one of the centres where e-passports applications will be processed. The Mission is optimistic that it will be ready to process these applications within the first quarter of 2019.
In conclusion, I wish to express special thanks to our Chief Guest Hon. Jeremy Lefroy for accepting to grace our celebrations today despite his busy calendar. I would, not forget the staff of, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Commonwealth Secretariat, International Maritime Organisation, Members of Diplomatic Corps, the Business Community, the Diaspora as well as members of Staff at the High Commission. I thank you all for your support through the year.
May I now request you to fill your glasses and join me in proposing a toast to the good health of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and for the prosperity of the peoples of the United Kingdom and Kenya, and to all of us gathered here today.
TO THE QUEEN!
AND NOW MAY I WISH YOU ALL A MERRY XMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.