Nairobi: The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched its strategic plan that will run up to 2012. The launch, presided over by the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Professor George Saitoti, was held on 23rd June, 2011 at the KICC. The theme of the strategic plan is 'Turning global challenges into opportunities through innovative diplomacy'. The Minister said the strategic plan is a tool that would guide the Ministry’s conduct of foreign relations by highlighting its strategies and priorities in addressing the objectives of the country’s foreign policy over the period. 'The plan places heavy emphasis on economic diplomacy which will drive our efforts in contributing to the development of Vision 2030,' he said.
He observed that the Ministry continued to engage the private sector as it explored opportunities across the globe. 'In our economic and commercial ventures, the Ministry seeks the input of the Private Sector in negotiations on multilateral trade agreements and involvement in preparation for trade fairs, exhibitions and expositions', he added.
The Minister underscored the emerging efforts to strengthen the tripartite framework between EAC, SADC and COMESA towards regional integration with a population of over 800 million. He said this ideally provided a market and would create a tremendous potential for trade for the country. He noted that with improved infrastructure and enhanced technology, countries would improve on their competitiveness.
Recognizing the role that the country continued to play in the peace processes in the region, the Minister said that the Kenya Consulate in Juba would be elevated to a fully fledged Embassy when Southern Sudan becomes a fully independent state next month.
Plans are also underway to expand the country’s diplomatic presence to key strategic countries in Central and West Africa, including Ghana and Angola. Beyond the region, Kenya seeks to intensify trade and commercial ties with emerging economies, the so called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
The Minister underscored the critical role the Ministry continued to play in securing the country’s international borders through diplomatic engagements. He reiterated the country’s commitment to resolving the cross border tensions with neighboring countries as well as peace processes in Somalia and Sudan.
The Ministry is currently working on a policy to guide provision of consular services in line with the New Constitution. 'Diaspora is an important agenda and the country will continue to engage them to contribute to the country’s development' he said. Over the years, the level of remittances from the Diaspora has risen significantly rising to over US $ 1.9 billion in 2010, the Minister noted.
At the international level, the Minister noted that the country needs to expand its presence through highly trained and experienced manpower. 'The Ministry continues to lobby for the appointment of Kenyans in key positions in international organizations,' he said. He noted that Amb. Amina Mohammed had been appointed as the Deputy Executive Director at UNEP among other Kenyans in IREENA, UNICEF and AU.
Speaking during the occasion, the Acting Permanent Secretary Amb. P.S. Wamoto said that the Ministry had attempted to fully respond to the Government’s policy of implementing Public Sector reforms as a means of improving productivity in the Public Service and enhancing service delivery.
'This Strategic Plan provides an overview of the Ministry’s role and functions, and also outlines its strategic objectives, priorities, and strategies that are instrumental in the achievement of its mandate,' Amb. Wamoto said. He observed that the plan is anchored on the five pillars of Foreign Policy, namely: Economic, Peace, Environment, Cultural and Diaspora Diplomacy.
Amb. Wamoto also said the Ministry had reviewed its Service Charter in order to reaffirm its commitment to provide and improve quality service delivery as well as increase customer awareness. He thanked the entire Ministry staff for working tirelessly in ensuring the production of a comprehensive and well thought out Strategic Plan.
Present during the launch was Lt Gen Julius W Karangi 'MGH' 'CBS' 'ndc' 'psc'(K), the Vice Chief of General Staff, the Acting Political and Diplomatic Secretary, Amb. Michael Oyugi, Heads of Departments and Division, Invited guests and members of staff. Amb. Maina emceed at the occasion.