Nominated US Ambassador to Kenya grilled by Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Meg Whitman is set to become the richest person in Kenya with a networth of Sh361 billion

Meg Whitman

After more than a year since former US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter resigned in January 2021, efforts to replace him have gained momentum.

Nominated US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman appeared before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

The hearing comes five months after she was nominated by President Joe Biden, which fueled disquiet on the reasons for the delay.

During the session, Ms Whitman expressed her excitement to be nominated to serve in Kenya, which she described as the largest economy in sub-saharan Africa.

Nairobi is the largest US Embassy in sub-Saharan Africa and the 13th largest mission in the world. Its staff of 1,700 represents 34 U.S. government agencies. Should I be confirmed, I will continue the current US focus on supporting democracy and democratic institutions in a vibrant Kenyan society, particularly in advance of the elections in August,” she told the panel.

Whitman, who has been president and CEO of 3 multinational companies, vowed to promote good governance, economic prosperity, public health, regional peace and security, and cooperation in defense between the two counties.

In the Kenyan elections this upcoming August, we must encourage Kenyan leaders from across the political spectrum to support credible, peaceful electoral processes that showcase the strength of Kenya’s democracy,” she added.

The former HP CEO noted that Kenya is well-positioned to be an African leader in information technology, telecommunications, and mobile banking.

Working with Kenya to assemble the infrastructure, connectivity, and expertise needed to help build the country’s “Silicon Savannah” will be a big part of my mission, and an opportunity I hope numerous US companies will eagerly embrace,” Ms Whitman expressed.

The mother of two also stated that as Kenya’s largest financial contributor to the country’s health care system, she would promote collaboration between the two counties in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.

Speaking about the US military interests in Kenya, she said “Kenya is also a significant contributor to regional peace and security, especially through its contribution of troops to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia. If confirmed, I will work closely with Kenya to address instability and combat terrorism in the Horn of Africa."

Our bilateral defence cooperation with Kenya, a partnership of over 60 years, is strong. But we must be strategic and nimble in helping Kenya confront threats to its security. I look forward to supporting the Kenyan government on defence matters and advancing America’s interests in the region,” she vowed.

Ms Whitman is married to her husband of 42 years, Dr Griff Harsh who is currently the chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at University of California Davis Medical Center.

According to the latest data from Forbes, she is estimated to be worth Sh361 billion and is among the 1000 richest people in the world.

If confirmed she is set to become the richest person living in Kenya.

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