Kenya Strikes Major Deal in US After Uhuru's Trip

  • Kenya and the United States signed the first bilateral deal following President Uhuru Kenyatta's trip to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, January 6.

    The air freight services deal was signed by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh.

    The signing of an amendment to the Bilateral Air Services Agreement will see airlines from both countries allowed to establish and operate cargo hubs in the other country.

    The move is expected to drive increased trade between Kenya and the United States and develop the country's air freight services sector.

    Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh pose after signing the revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, February 6

    The last amendment made to the Bilateral Air Services Agreement was signed in 2019 and facilitated historic direct flights between the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and New York.

    The amendment signed by Macharia on February 6, will see restrictions on cargo operations eased in a bid to spark increased foreign direct investment in Kenya.

    "Kenya and the USA have today signed an amendment to the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries. Ms. Manisha Singh, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, signed the amendment on behalf of the USA.

    "The revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Kenya and the USA will facilitate the expansion of air freight services, by allowing airlines from both countries to set up and operate air cargo hubs in either country," Macharia shared on social media after signing the amendment.

    The deal was signed hours before President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to meet his US counterpart Donald Trump to begin negotiations on a free-trade agreement between the two nations.

    If signed, it will be the first free-trade agreement signed by the US with a Sub-Saharan African nation.

    Addressing a governance think tank, the Atlantic Council, on Wednesday, February 5 in Washington, Uhuru stated that it was Kenya's desire to be a pacesetter for other African nations by working to build a cohesive society devoid of extremist politics to provide a stable foundation for sustainable growth.

    He described the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as 'a homegrown (Kenyan) solution for a divisive political culture that has often sparked electoral crises over the last thirty years'.

    The President further spoke against Western discourse centered on a perceived scramble between the US and China for Africa's resources.

    “I have noticed in the conversation in Western countries and their counterparts in Asia and the Middle East a return to competition over Africa.

    "In some cases, weaponising divisions, pursuing proxy actions, and behaving like Africa is for the taking. It is not,” Uhuru warned.

    US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh, US Ambassador Kyle McCarter and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia after signing the revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, February 6
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