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Purchasing new embassies will cost Sh5 billion per year - Foreign Affairs

Most of the consulates and embassies are in deplorable conditions.

The Kenya High Commission building in London

To lower the cost of rent and hosting diplomats abroad, the Ministry of Foreign affairs is seeking at least Sh5 billion annually for 15 years to buy properties, which will cut the amount of money spent by foreign missions.

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The information was revealed when the Parliament Budget Office (PBO) explained that despite the expansion of Kenya’s footprint across the globe, the destination of Kenya’s exports has remained narrow.

According to PBO, Kenya has 61 missions including consulates and liaison offices which are spread across the five continents. However, only 12 countries account for 70 percent of total exports in 2020.

“Honorary Consuls offer an efficient diplomatic channel of increasing a country’s diplomatic network as they are cost-effective than fully-fledged missions because of the lower costs attached to maintain Honorary Consuls as they serve for free and only require reimbursed of expenses incurred in offering their services,” PBO said.

Most of the government-owned properties in missions abroad are old having been acquired in the early years of Kenya’s Independence forcing the government to pay rents in Western capitals for ambassadors.

The London embassy and those in New York (United Nations), Canada, Washington, Russia, Australia, Geneva, Japan, China, South Korea and the Los Angeles consulate have been cited as being in a deplorable state and in need of an uplift.

Diplomats in London and New York have been forced to rent homes and offices as residences built by taxpayers fall apart due to neglect.

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