Bernard Gitau @benagitau
President Uhuru Kenyatta is today scheduled to meet his United States counterpart Donald Trump for talks aimed at enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
The White House meeting will focus on trade between the two countries and finding a solution to insecurity in neighbouring Somalia and South Sudan.
Today’s meeting with the US leader comes two days before Uhuru meets another Western leader, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, who arrives in Nairobi on Thursday.
Uhuru has termed the meeting with Trump and executives of top US companies as “a landmark” aimed at promoting Kenya as a preferred investment destination.
Uhuru is the second sub-Saharan Africa president to hold talks with Trump at the White House after Nigeria’s Mohammadu Buhari.
“The meeting between the two leaders will reaffirm the long-standing relationship between the United States and Kenya as a cornerstone of peace and stability in Africa and the broader Indo-Pacific region,” Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said the meeting underscores the importance of Kenya-US relations, a relationship that is historical and that has been growing in both breadth and depth over the years to cover a wide range of areas from security and defence to governance, trade and investment.
Kenya’s ambassador to the US Njeru Githae said the meeting is expected to be beneficial to Kenya’s interests.
“We do not want this to be just a symbolic visit. We want it to have a lot of deliverables. There are a number of projects that we are negotiating. We hope they will be signed on Monday in the presence of President Kenyatta,” Githae said.
He pointed out that Kenya places a lot of emphasis on economic rather than political diplomacy. Trade between the two countries is tilted towards the US, with Nairobi buying goods worth Sh57.38 billion last year against exports – largely textile and apparels – valued at Sh47.27 billion. Besides Trump and May, Uhuru is scheduled to meet China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing in early September.