Visit to Kenya: two loans signed and meeting with Deputy President
During his official visit to Kenya, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders signed two draft, state-to-state loans between Belgium and Kenya for a total amount of approximately 27 million euros.
The first project, which will be carried out by the Belgian company Soulco, will consist of the second phase of a programme aimed at providing the counties with IT equipment and connecting them to each other. The counties are the country’s administrative entities and were created by the new Constitution to bring the authorities closer to the citizens. This is one of the main aspects of strengthening the authorities in Kenya.
The second project concerns infrastructure for the electrification of rural Kenya with the purpose of benefitting industry and local agriculture. CG Holdings is the company responsible for its implementation. Minister Reynders visited the completed first phase, which clearly showed him how important this project is for the local economy.
Through Finexpo, Belgium is very active in Kenya in the area of concessional loans. Various projects have been executed in very diverse sectors such as energy, health, education and telecommunications. Others are still being negotiated and may be settled quickly. One of these concerns the reinforcement of the fire brigade, a sector that is desperately needed, as demonstrated during the recent fire that broke out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Didier Reynders also met with William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President.
They both welcomed the excellent bilateral relations between Belgium and Kenya. They also talked about strengthening these, particularly with regard to trade and investments. Talks will soon be held concerning an agreement with a view to avoiding double taxation and concerning an agreement on the protection and promotion of investments. A trade mission on international financial institutions will visit Kenya in November under the leadership of Flanders Investment and Trade. The Deputy President thanked Belgium for its donation of a ship for maritime research purposes, a gift that will enable Kenya’s management of marine resources to be improved.
William Ruto and Didier Reynders also discussed the situation in the countries of the region. Minister Reynders visited Kenya directly after a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He expressed his opinion on the peace process, on the stabilisation in eastern Congo and on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement. Kenya recently hosted the High-Level Conference on the Great Lakes Region and is prepared to continue to offer support to efforts made in the region.
Didier Reynders is pleased about the efforts Kenya is making regarding Somalia through its participation in the AMISOM peacekeeping mission. Belgium and Kenya emphasised the importance of the Conference, which will be organised in Brussels in September. They are calling for Somalia’s attendance to be as inclusive as possible, with major participation by Somalia’s different regions. Dialogue and national unity are crucial for stabilising the country in the long term.
Finally, they discussed the situation in South Sudan. Both Ministers hope that it will be possible to fully implement the political agreement between the Sudanese government and South Sudan, which has been facilitated by Kenya.