By PSCU – The ongoing rollout of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme and the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Dongo Kundu dominated talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the ongoing TICAD 7 conference in Yokohama, Japan.
During the bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Abe said Japan will continue supporting Kenya’s ambition to achieve UHC through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements.
Prime Minister Abe had earlier, during the opening session of TICAD 7, announced his government’s pledge to support UHC programs in Africa that will benefit over 3 million people.
On the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Dongo Kundu, the two leaders agreed that with the support of the Japanese government, Kenya will fast track the commencement of the SEZ as well as the construction of the Likoni Gate bridge.
Other matters that featured prominently during the talks included regional peace and security, a sustainable blue economy and the need to address the trade imbalance between the two countries that is currently in favor of Japan.
President Kenyatta thanked Prime Minister Abe for hosting TICAD 6 in Kenya in 2016 saying the conference helped raise the country’s profile as an investment destination of choice on the African continent.
The President noted that in the last 3 years, the number of Japanese companies setting shop in Kenya significantly rose from 41 to 57, a feat he termed as a success indicator of the growing bilateral ties between Tokyo and Nairobi.
The leaders also discussed ongoing United Nations reforms with President Kenyatta asking his host for Japan’s support for Kenya’s bid to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
President Kenyatta concluded by inviting PM Abe to attend the 25thInternational Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 25) that will be held in Nairobi between 12thand 14th November this year.
In another side meeting, President Kenyatta and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres discussed regional peace and security in the Eastern Africa region.
At the meeting, the President invited Mr Guterres to the UN Oceans Conference that Kenya will co-host with Portugal in Lisbon between 2nd and 6th June next year.
Earlier, President Kenyatta separately held talks with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius.
PM Jugnauth assured President Kenyatta of his country’s support for Kenya’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council when elections are held on June 2020.
The two leaders further agreed to conclude discussions on the “Avoidance of Double Tax Agreement” between the two countries by mid-September and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Standards by end of September 2019.