Thursday, 16 July 2015

Obama visit to 'reassure support' for Kenya on key issues.Drive Hot News

US President Barack Obama waves after arriving on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on July 2, 2015.  AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB
 US President Barack Obama waves after arriving on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on July 2, 2015.

US President Barack Obama says his visit to Kenya next week will cement his government’s resolve to support the region on “important issues.”
In a press briefing on Wednesday in Washington, President Obama said he looked forward to travelling to Nairobi because it will give him an opportunity to reassure support for Kenya and the region.
“My hope is, is that we can deliver a message that the US is a strong partner not just for Kenya, but for sub-Saharan Africa generally,” he said.
“[We can] build on the progress that’s been made around issues of health and education; focus on counterterrorism issues that are important in East Africa because of Al-Shabaab and some of the tragedies that have happened inside of Kenya.”
The US government has maintained in the past that it was supporting Kenya’s counterterrorism efforts.
In May, Secretary of State John Kerry told journalists in Nairobi that the US would give Sh9.6 billion in the fight against Al-Shabaab, as well as help in intelligence gathering and sharing.
Obama will be visiting Nairobi from July 24 for the first time as president to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), one of his flagship programmes to support the youth and women against poverty.
More than 3,000 business leaders, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs are expected to attend the event which will be the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Obama’s visit has created excitement beyond GES because his father was Kenyan and it looks like a home-coming.
His itinerary has been closely guarded but on Wednesday, he told journalists his government would also press for "democratic values" often associated with his three previous foreign travels in Africa.
“We will hopefully continue to encourage democracy and the reduction of corruption inside that country that sometimes has held back this incredibly gifted and blessed country.
“It’s obviously something I’m looking forward to. I’ll be honest with you, visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as President because I can actually get outside of a hotel room or a conference centre.
“And just the logistics of visiting a place are always tough as President, but it’s obviously symbolically important.
Obama’s comments could be a great reassurance coming just a day after the State Department issued a travel alert on Kenya, warning Americans to stay away from the conference venues as they could be targeted.