Kenya, US seek to strengthen trade ties

In Summary

•The upcoming Free Trade Agreement with United States holds great promise for a much more invigorated trading regime between the partner countries.

•Nothing sends a powerful signal for growing and better trade relations than a partnership built around a stable and progressive political environment devoid of any threats, particularly those of terrorist elements such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates including, Al Shabaab.

President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.
President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Image: FILE

Kenya and the United States continue to seek ways to transform their trade and investment partnerships in ways that can accelerate economic growth and have a deep impact on peace and development in Kenya and, indeed, in the East African region.

The upcoming Free Trade Agreement with United States holds great promise for a much more invigorated trading regime between the partner countries. Nothing sends a powerful signal for growing and better trade relations than a partnership built around a stable and progressive political environment devoid of any threats, particularly those of terrorist elements such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates including, Al Shabaab.

In the past we have witnessed the sharp investment and economic setbacks that Kenya suffered following the Al-Qaeda affiliate terrorist attacks, including those of the 1998 US Embassy bombing and the Westgate Mall and Dusit 2 Hotel attacks among others.

A sustainable, prosperous and stable Horn of Africa open to major trade and investment can only be realized when these Al-Qaeda affiliates no longer pose a military threat and after the ideological and social apparatus they command has been dismantled. This in turn would entail durable and predictable partnership between The United States and Kenya that would ensure that, together, they take actions to cripple the leadership of these terrorist organizations and sanction and prosecute their finances and source of funding.

To do this Kenya will continue to work with partners in the region including Somalia and the African Union. Kenya will also expand its counterterrorism financing and money laundering campaign driven by multinational investigations and prosecutions which have this far proven significantly effective.

Kenya will also seek to sharpen its AMISOM counter terrorism force in its support to Somalia in Kenya’s mission critical contribution to dismantle Al Shabaab and other terror groups in Somalia.

In order to achieve this, Kenya will have to continue to be emphatic in its position not to negotiate with or embrace Al Shabaab leaders who, tragically, remain determined to launch horrific attacks in Somalia, the United States and other countries, as well as in Kenya.

Kenya hopes that any action undertaken by its partners in this effort to fight terrorism will not put at risk the security arrangements in place to fight terrorism and to advance the common cause of the international community.