President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term in office had its stumbles, but it also had a number of successes.
The Head of State has also gone a long way toward meeting a number of his campaign promises, including a pledge to actualize Universal Health Care in the country.
In March this year, the country was surprised when President Uhuru Kenyatta met with his political rival and leader of the opposition, Raila Odinga. The meeting culminated in what is now famously known as the March 2018 handshake, that saw the end of the political standoff and rhetoric that almost plunged the Country into chaos.
The agenda of the meeting centred on how to unite and heal Kenya following a divisive General Election in 2017. They promised to work together to halt the country’s descent into abyss and expressed their desire to set aside their differences and reconstruct a nation that is responsive to the urgent need for prosperity, fairness and dignity for all Kenyans.
After the handshake, the country entered into a period of national reconciliation and the Building Bridges Initiative team was formed. This group was tasked with collecting information from Kenyans and proposing the way forward for all Kenyans, even those who don’t support either President Kenyatta or Mr Odinga.
Deal With USA
President Kenyatta witnessed the signing of two agreements that saw two US companies invest $238 million worth (Sh24 billion) of projects in Kenya and urged the US government to facilitate the operations of US businesses in Africa.
The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Kipeto Wind Energy Company signed documents to close a $232 million deal for construction and operation of a 100-megawatt grid-connected wind power plant south of Nairobi.
Universal Health Care
On provision of Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC), President Kenyatta had said that his government would roll out innovative health insurance options, set up local pharmaceutical companies, upgrade and manage healthcare facilities and set up specialized treatment centres.
This is a significant and perhaps the most important strategic priority as reports indicated that every year over a million Kenyans gets trapped into poverty due to a catastrophic out of pocket payments of health reasons.
World Bank Ranking
Between 2014 and 2018, Kenya improved its ranking on World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI) by 56 positions from 136 to 80 and remains on target to get to the top 50 by 2020.
Return of Stolen Cash
Kenya signed a deal with Switzerland to facilitate the return of stolen cash, in a development targeting an estimated Ksh72 billion stashed in Swiss accounts.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset, oversaw the signing of the crucial agreement that cleared the way for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth hidden in Switzerland, signalling yet another step in the war against corruption.
China Trade Deal
Kenya and China also signed a deal, that allows Kenya’s fresh produce including avocado, mangoes and cashew nuts to be exported to the Chinese market.
President Uhuru Kenyatta lead a delegation of horticultural farmers and traders to China for the 1st Shanghai Import Expo during which Sanitary and the Phytosanitary deal were expected to be signed, opening doors for export of the fresh produce.
A number of other trade deals were negotiated and sealed during the visit. The deal also allowed for the export of stevia, a sweetener largely grown in the Rift Valley, into the Chinese market.
Launching the Kenya Coast Guard Service.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Coast Guard Bill into law. The Coast Guard Act 2018 established the Kenya Coast Guard Service, which was tasked with enforcing maritime security and safety, pollution control and sanitation measures and prosecuting offenders.
It is estimated that Kenya loses about Ksh10 billion in revenue annually due to illegal and criminal activities at sea. The coastal guard was given the responsibility to keep Kenya’s seashores safe from aggression and illegal commercial activities.
Hosting the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi
President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted other Heads of States and Heads of government at the global event in Nairobi. The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy.
The blue economy concept pertains to the use of seas, oceans and lakes and their resources for sustainable economic development.
Canada offered assistance to co-host the conference after Kenyatta met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Nairobi was keen to leverage on the meeting to accelerate investment in its rivers, lakes and the Indian Ocean and transform adjacent towns into economic powerhouses as is the case in most developed countries.