Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta received Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications, H.E. Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti in Nairobi. The two discussed a number of issues of common interest and means of further developing Qatari-Kenyan relations. The meeting was also attended by Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Bakr, and Qatari Ambassador in Nairobi, Jabr bin Ali Al Dosari. The Minister of Transport and Communications also held talks with Kenyan Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia, in Nairobi, yesterday. The two discussed aspects of cooperation between Qatar and Kenya in the fields of transport services, ports and aviation, and means of further enhancing them. They also discussed potential investment opportunities in these fields, in addition to a number of matters of common interest between the two friendly countries.
Meanwhile, fearing the impact of global politics, Kenya and Tanzania have stopped importing oil and gas from Iran in the face of United States sanctions against countries that continue to trade with Tehran. US President Donald Trump in May reintroduced sanctions against Iran in a bid to force the country to abandon its nuclear programme, pulling out of a 2015 deal signed by the previous administration of President Barack Obama. Under the deal with the US, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions against it. The US president has warned that he will push for sanctions against countries or companies that continue to trade with Iran.
US First Lady Melania Trump has arrived in Nairobi on the third day of her solo trip to Africa to promote health and education. Mrs Trump landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at around 9pm on Thursday. She has already visited Malawi and Ghana, and is later expected in Egypt. “I am so proud of the work this administration is doing through United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) and others, and look forward to the opportunity to take the message of my ‘Be Best’ campaign to many of the countries and children throughout Africa,” she said early this month. The ‘Be Best’ campaign, which addresses the social well-being of children, was rolled out this year. Mrs Trump’s visit to Kenya follows a discussion she held with Mrs Kenyatta at the White House in Washington, DC in August this year when the Kenyan First Lady accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta on his visit.
Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 4.7 per cent during a similar quarter in 2017 according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). The growth is attributable to favorable weather conditions as the country experienced heavy rains that impacted positively on most of the agricultural and generation of hydroelectricity. Agriculture, electricity and water supply recorded significant improvements to grow by 5.6 per cent and 8.6 per cent compared to growths of 0.8 per cent and 6.0 per cent, respectively during the second quarter of 2017. Tourism recorded the highest growth as accommodation and food service grew by15.7 per cent followed by Information and communication that grew by 12.6 per cent in the period under review. The manufacturing sector recovered from a contraction of 0.2 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2017 to expand by 3.1 per cent in the quarter under review. However, mining, quarrying and construction recorded the most notable deceleration in growths during the review period. The financial and insurance activities also slowed down from 3.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.3 per cent in the quarter under review.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s private sector activity grew at its slowest pace in 10 months September, weighed down by the effects of higher taxes on production costs, a new survey says. The latest Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) says that companies have reported slower output levels and order growth, indicating the economy is feeling the pressure of tax changes brought by the government. In the current fiscal year, manufacturers have also been hit by an increase in energy costs following a review of power tariffs.
Calls for a referendum to reduce the number of elected representatives in the country has dominated the political scene this week, with MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta backing the plebiscite push that is opposed by his deputy, William Ruto. The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, is believed to be behind the clamor for change of current Kenya’s governance structure but opposed by his colleagues in the opposition such as Stephen Kalonzo and Musalia Mudavadi. While Mr Ruto has insisted that a referendum was not a priority for the ruling party, more and more MPs are coming out to back the calls for the reopening of the Constitution the deputy president had opposed in 2010. While MPs are divided on the issue of referendum, majority of Kenyans are quietly supporting it. Other leaders, however, are calling for a national dialogue to discuss issues of national interest such as V.A.T, corruption and national unity. This group is led by Amani National Congress (ANC)