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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENCY SPOKESMAN MANOAH ESIPISU

DURING A PRESS BRIEFING AT STATE HOUSE NAIROBI 10 th


MARCH, 2015
Kenya and Japan are old friends. Formal relations date back to
independence in 1963, when Japan was among the first to
recognise our freedom. Soon after, Japan opened an embassy in
Kenya; we reciprocated in 1979. Relations have flourished, and
Japan has been a generous and constant partner in trade, culture
and development.
1.1

Trade

Bilateral trade last year was valued at around KES 65 billion. As


you know, we import machinery, mechanical instruments and
vehicles from Japan, and the country remains a vital market for
our tea, flowers, and other agricultural and horticultural products.
There have been concerns about the trade imbalance between
the two countries. But in recent years, we have entered an
exciting new phase of our friendship. In 2013, Toyota Kenya
opened a bus assembly plant in Changamwe an initial
investment of KES 500 million, expected to produce 40 units a
month initially, rising to 200. This, it should be noted, was the first
plant of its kind opened by this subsidiary of Toyota in Africa.
In the same year, Nissin Food Holdings established a substantial
joint venture with JKUAT, whose initial business will be to
manufacture food products. Nissin contributed KES 350 million to
the venture, with JKUAT putting in KES 150 million of its own.
Nissin Holdings is a leading international food business, based in
Japan (revenues of $3.4 billion in 2014).
More recently, Toyota Tsusho agreed a KES 103 billion contract to
build Kenyas first fertilizer factory, and has secured the
necessary funding. The firm is a member of the Toyota group; it is
also the sixth-largest trading company in the world with revenues
of $71.9 billion in 2012.

In late 2014, Nissan, the worlds sixth largest carmaker, proposed


setting up a car making plant in Kenya, if an agreement were
reached between it and government about a number of power
and energy matters.
Equally, there has been recent interest from the Japan Oil Gas and
Metals Exploration Company (JOGMEC) in Kenyas oil and mineral
deposits. JOGMEC and the National Oil Corporation of Kenya
recently signed an agreement for oil exploration.
These are only some of the new opportunities that have recently
emerged in this relationship. Suffice it to say that the President is
keen to make the most of them; and keen, also, to make progress
on cutting sharply the trade imbalance that now exists between
Kenya and Japan.
1.2

Development and Assistance

Japan has long been a very close, and very generous,


development partner. Over the years we have received in excess
of KES 420 billion in development assistance, whether as grant
aid, technical assistance or loans.
The results are evident: the Jomo Kenyatta University of
Agriculture and Technology is one of Kenyas finest universities, as
well as a monument of the two countries relationship. Indeed, the
university has received in excess of $200 million in technical help
from Japan, and has been the recipient of another $200 million in
infrastructure from the same benefactor.
One of the Presidents aims on the trip is to strengthen this
relationship of mutual aid, and to see how the assistance and
loans can be used more effectively and efficiently.
1.3

Diplomacy

Both Kenya and Japan share a keen interest in a fairer, more


democratic, and more secure international order.

In particular, Kenya is interested in reform of the UN Security


council, and is a member of the AU committee on UNSC reforms.
Now, Japan has put itself forward as a candidate for nonpermanent membership of the United Nations Security Council in
2016-17. Naturally, it has sought its allies help. Kenya has
confirmed its support, in line with its broader support for UNSC
reform.
Both Kenya and Japan have suffered terrorist attacks. Both
countries recognise that terrorism is a global problem, and that
allies must stand together to fight it. After consideration, Japan
has now reviewed its official development assistance guidelines.
One result is that Japan will henceforth cooperate in, and fund,
non-military security projects. Indeed, Japan has since set aside
$200 million for countries affected by terrorism in the Middle East
and Africa. The President will consult closely with the Prime
Minister of Japan in these matters, to see what experiences we
can share, and how both countries can help each other overcome
the scourge of terrorism.
1.4

Further travel.

The President will also visit Namibia between 20 and 21st March
2015.
He will meet President Geingob, and other senior officials of
Namibias government. A number of items will be on the agenda.
The President will urge progress on the proposal to set up a
tripartite free-trade area between the EAC, COMESA and SADC.
The proposal would aid our growth, support our pan-African goals,
and reduce poverty. It merits the closest attention from all our
partners.
With his counterpart in Namibia, they will also work to fulfil some
of the outstanding commitments from the general agreement
between Kenya and Namibia of 1992. An inaugural session of the
joint Kenya-Namibia cooperation commission is expected to follow
during the second half of the year.

Kenyas close cooperation with Namibia in medical matters is not


always appreciated. Many Kenyan health workers have done
stints in Namibia; indeed, a Kenyan serves as Dean of the school
of Medicine at the University of Namibia. We ourselves offer
specialist training to Namibias young men and women at the
University of Nairobis Medical School, and the Kenya Medical
Training Institute. More recently, Kenyan experts helped to set up
a vital cardiac unit that has since been handed over to the
Namibian authorities. The President, on his visit, will give every
support to this relationship, and explore means of strengthening
it.
2. Domestic Matters
I turn now to domestic matters.
2.1 Al-Shabaab
First, the Al-Shabaab video has come to our attention, as to that
of other Kenyans. It is not our policy to comment on propaganda
material from terrorist organisations, so I will make no remarks
specific to the content of the video.
It will suffice to say that Al-Shabaab has made its intent, ideology,
and practice very clear. It intends to destroy this nation, and to
replace it with an extreme Islamist caliphate. It has shown itself
willing to murder innocents to achieve its goals and to commit
any number of utterly depraved acts.
In the face of this evil, Kenyans have a clear responsibility. They
must stand up and be counted in this fight against terrorism.
Carrying, conveying or otherwise transmitting terrorist message
only helps the terrorists. We in Kenya enjoy freedom of speech,
but, as the constitution reminds us, that liberty does not extend to
propaganda for war, incitement to violence, or advocacy of
religious hatred. We urge Kenyans to remember their
responsibilities, as well as their rights, and to do all they can to
prevent the terrorists from using our freedoms against us.

The video also makes clear why the government brought forward
an amendment to the security laws. We sought to clarify the
relevant provisions of the constitution, and to use these powers to
protect Kenyans. The government will continue to do its utmost to
protect Kenyans, and to prevent terrorists from spreading fear,
hatred and anger.
2.2 Mpeketoni Incident
Recently, a woman died after an incident involving a policeman in
Mpeketoni. I can confirm that police are doing everything in their
power to locate and arrest the suspect. They have expressed
confidence that they will have him by the end of the day. The
course of justice will not be thwarted.
2.3 Central Bank of Kenya governor
Many of you have inquired about the appointment of a new
Central Bank of Kenya governor, following his scheduled
retirement after two terms in office. As the law stipulates, there
will be a competitive process, after which the post, as well as that
of second deputy governor, and chairman of the board will be
filled. A recruitment panel will forward a list of three for each
position. In due course, the President will then choose his
nominee for each position, and let parliament consider
confirmation. We will be glad to announce the names to you at an
appropriate time.
2.4 Inspector General
Let me close by confirming that the Presidents nominee for
Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph K Boinett, will be sworn in
tomorrow. We thank parliament for handling the matter with the
seriousness and speed it deserved, and look forward to his service
to the Kenyan people.