Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked the newly appointed envoys to prioritise expanding the export market for Kenya’s produce for maximum economic gain.
Speaking when he hosted more than 40 new Ambassadors, Consuls Generals, High Commissioners, and Deputy Heads of Mission at the Official Residence in Karen, Nairobi, Mr Gachagua said the Ruto Administration is supporting crop production alongside reforms in key sectors to boost the economy and the envoys must ensure they align.
“We are enhancing food production. If there is no commensurate market, farmers will give up. You have to help us market coffee, tea, milk, miraa and other products,” he said.
Mr Gachagua told the envoys to plan on expanding trade opportunities, increasing direct investment, and seeking bilateral labour agreements for more jobs for Kenyans abroad, adding that their performance will be evaluated on the economic gains to the country.
“We want you to study the current volumes of trade. In a year, there must be a shift in capturing new markets and retaining the existing ones. There must be a difference. Your contracts are pegged on deliverables on the gains in volumes of trade, secured jobs, among other measures. Without delivery, you have no business being at the missions,” the Deputy President said.
Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Musalia Mudavadi said the Kenya is a country of interest globally and the ambassadors need to ride on this for the economic benefit.
Further, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives Simon Chelugui said coffee, tea and other farmers are looking forward to better prices for their products, therefore the envoys need to explore lucrative markets abroad. He pointed out the Economic Partnership Agreement signed by the European Union and Kenya on Monday, African Free Trade Area Agreement and other trade pacts as enabling frameworks for deepening the country’s footprint in the international market.
On the other part, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Alfred Mutua said Kenya must occupy its rightful place as the most preferred destination. He pledged commitment in working with the envoys in promoting the country’s products to increase the number of tourists.
The Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau told the envoys that they will be required to report back on their progress in expanding bilateral and multi-lateral opportunities for Kenya.
The Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs Korir SingÓei said the gender, professional and other forms of diversity reflected in the team is good for results.
The Deputy President said the work of trade attachés will be aligned to support the envoys in delivering on the Ruto Administration’s focus on economic diplomacy.
“We must seize the space to build and strengthen commercial diplomacy. You need to be extremely aggressive,” he said.
Besides agro-produce, the Deputy President asked the diplomats to market the tourism sites of the country. He said Kenyan is leading in tourist products and excursions in Africa and globally, but the country is yet to reap the maximum benefits.
“We are not doing well in tourism. We want you to lead in marketing the National Parks and Reserves. We also have exotic beaches. Come up with a programme of marketing these products,” he said.
He asked the ambassadors to work with the Diaspora community in strategically positioning Kenya as a tourist, investment and quality export leader.
He also asked them to pursue and negotiate labour migration agreements to streamline job opportunities for Kenyans abroad.
The Deputy President said the over six million youth have no jobs. The number of jobs secured will also be an evaluation measure for the ambassadors. He asked them to create good frameworks to ensure Kenyans abroad are treated with dignity and humanely.
Further, the Deputy president said the diplomats need to seek strategic partnership and drive foreign direct investment into the country to also create local jobs. He urged them to align their Mission’s priorities to the Kenya Kwanza Plan’s Pillars.
His office, he said, is ready to unlock investment and partnership opportunities in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, and other relevant agencies.
The Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Dr Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives Simon Chelugui, Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau, Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dr. Korir Sing’Oei and the Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs Roseline Njogu.