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30-APR-2018 :: "A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history."
Law & Politics
The Events that took place on Friday at the truce village of Panmunjom
and during the Inter-Korean Summit were breathtaking for the Hollywood
Optics. The Opening Shot of Kim Jong Un surrounded by a Phalanx of
North Korean Officials [later replayed as Chairman Kim sat in his
Presidential Vehicle surrounded by his Ninja bodyguards] was almost as
good as the opening Sequence in PT Anderson's Boogie Nights [Steadicam
operator Andy Shuttleworth]. This was Cinema of the highest level
which is no surprise when You consider that Kim Jong-Il the Father was
obsessed with Cinema and amassed arguably the world’s largest personal
film collection: over 20,000 bootlegged 35mm screening copies. Kim
Jong-Il also had a penchant for Hennessy Paradis cognac and for two
years in the mid-1990s, he was the world's largest buyer of Hennessy
Paradis cognac, importing up to $800,000 of the stuff a year. Kim
Jong-Il began his career as the head of the state’s propaganda and
agitation department and its clear that Kim Jong-Un's sister Kim Yo
Jong who holds the same role and evidently handles all the optics, is
a chip off the old Block. Friday was tip-top Geopolitical Optics. Mike
Pompeo, the newly minted US Secretary of State [His predecessor was
fired via Twitter] had visited Pyongyang the previous week and
pronounced; that the young North Korean leader was "a smart guy who's
doing his homework"
Marwan Bishara was a little jaded by the Optics tweeted
''When pictures are the news and symbols are the facts, cliches become
truths and media turns into propaganda or BS''
''For now, We are short on facts long on images and hence any
perspective is likely to be speculative. Globally, we are being played
in a ‘game of nations’ which could produce more of the same or
12-FEB-2018 :: he is the buffer state between China and more than 30,000 US soldiers parked on their doorstep in South Korea.
Law & Politics
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft,
and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: What is soft is strong,” Lao Tzu
South Korea is set to be peeled off and going by his puppy dog smiles
President Moonriver will be in PyongYang before you can pronounce Kim
Yo Jong correctly. Russia always had their back. China was never
interested in bringing him to heel. After all, he is the buffer state
between China and more than 30,000 US soldiers parked on their
doorstep in South Korea.
18 SEP 17 :: "A screaming comes across the sky" North Korea. @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon which is about the
design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military.
In particular, it features the quest undertaken by several characters
to uncover the secret of a mysterious device named the “Schwarzgerät”
(black device), slated to be installed in a rocket with the serial
number “00000”. As the world watches PyongYang, I cannot help
wondering if Kim Jong-Un has read Pynchon which speaks of “A screaming
comes across the sky” and North Korea.
“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the
parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused
to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving
toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no
surprise, no second chance, no return.’’
Eagle-meets-Bear and the Syria tug-of-war @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics
Unknown sources have leaked what is billed as President Trump’s
alleged Syria deal discussed with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
Trump would “allow” Damascus, supported by Russian air power, to
regain its territory along the borders of Jordan, Israel and Iraq. In
return, President Putin and Bashar al-Assad would agree to establish
an extended demilitarized zone (DMZ) along these same borders,
off-limits to any Iranian forces.
That would set the scene for Trump’s already announced desire to
extract US forces out of Syria before October and the US mid-term
elections. The president would be able to declare the proverbial
“Mission Accomplished” in defeating Daesh or Islamic State.
The heart of the matter remains Syria’s territorial integrity and the
legitimacy of the government in Damascus. Russia, Iran and, after
countless circumvolutions, even Turkey are for it. The NATO-Gulf
Cooperation Council alliance is ferociously against it – especially
after having, over the past few years, funded and weaponized those
notorious “moderate rebels,” the overwhelming majority of which are
nothing but takfiri jihadis.
Back to Daraa
And so, as a gloomy serpent biting its own tail, the tragic war in
Syria is back to where it first started, seven and a half years ago,
to a dusty, dirt-poor, religiously intolerant, back of beyond Daraa.
Just across the border with Jordan, it is splendidly convenient
crossroads for weapons smuggling destined to the takfiri hordes.
The key problem remains how to make Trump understand what’s at stake
in terms of US forces leaving Al-Tanf. The Pentagon and the CIA
absolutely love the idea of having the Maghawhir takfiris constantly
attacking the SAA on the only available crossing between Syria and
Iraq on al-Qaim-Albu-Kamal.
The reality, though, will soon set in. Russia is sending extra Special
Forces. The SAA is already preparing for the offensive. And the Iraqi
People Mobilization Units (PMUs) will also join, everything
coordinated by an operations command in Baghdad.
All that is evidence the US does not “have” southern Syria. What the
US does have is roughly 2,000 Special Forces embedded with the Kurdish
YPG in the landlocked northeast and eastern Syria near the Turkish and
Iraqi borders. Absolutely no one wants them there, except the YPG.
It’s no secret the usual War Party suspects want Syria balkanized and
unable to concentrate on economic recovery, with help from Russia,
China and Iran, to become a key node in Eurasia integration.
As for Putin’s priorities, they are crystal clear: Syria’s territorial
integrity, the stability of the government in Damascus and The Gates
of Hell for all takfiri jihadis, whatever their denomination, so there
won’t be any further blowback in the Caucasus.
It’s up to Trump, or the CIA, or the Pentagon if they insist on
considering “No Takfiri Left Behind” a sound geopolitical strategy.
The world's largest virtual currency exchange is still making money hand over fist @business
Binance expects a net profit of $500 million to $1 billion in 2018,
according to its chief executive officer. First half revenue was about
$300 million, Changpeng Zhao said in an interview. Average daily
turnover at his venue, which opened a year ago, is roughly $1.5
billion, and Binance now has 10 million users, he said.
Zhao’s figures illustrate how some cryptocurrency exchanges are
thriving despite a rout in digital assets that’s seen Bitcoin lose 52
percent of its value this year as buyers pull back, venues are
repeatedly hacked and regulators increase their scrutiny.
Binance, which has had run-ins with authorities in Japan and Hong
Kong, plans to soon allow customers at venues in Uganda, Bermuda and
Malta to convert their virtual tokens to fiat currencies including the
euro, as it looks to build on its rapid growth.
Zhao has previously said that Binance had 2 million users at the start
of the year. He started the venue in July 2017, opening 11 days after
raising $15 million in an initial coin offering. As the crypto frenzy
peaked late last year, the exchange was hosting as much as $11 billion
of trades a day. Binance topped Coinmarketcap.com’s ranking of
exchanges in the past 24 hours, with $1.3 billion worth of trading.
The Crypto Business to be in.
Interestingly, FOMC flagged the ‚notable‘ depreciation in EM
currencies relative to the Dollar as #Argentina Peso has devalued by
28% in past 3mths, #Brazil Real 15%, #Turkey Lira 12%.
Ethiopia reform wave rolls on, opposition no longer "terrorists" @ReutersAfrica
The sacking of the head of the prison service, along with four senior
colleagues, came hours before a Human Rights Watch report that
detailed torture at one notorious prison and urged the government to
hold officials to account.
Announcing the dismissals, Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said
prison officers must respect individual rights outlined in the
constitution, a rare public rebuke to the country’s security
His remarks echoed Abiy’s stunning criticism of security forces last
month in which the 41-year-old, who holds a doctorate in peace and
security studies, acknowledged widespread police brutality and likened
it to state terrorism.
“Does the constitution stipulate that prisoners should be flogged and
beaten? It does not,” he told a televised sitting of parliament.
“Police flogged. This is unconstitutional. Police were terrorists.”
In office for just three months, Abiy has turned politics on its head
in the Horn of Africa nation of 100 million.
Foremost among his reforms was the launch last month of peace talks
with neighbour and sworn enemy Eritrea, against whom Ethiopia waged a
1998-2000 border war in which 80,000 people are thought to have died.
He has also rescinded a state of emergency and announced plans to
partially open up the economy, including attracting foreign capital
into the state-run telecoms company and national airline - both
mouth-watering investment prospects given Ethiopia’s size and pacy
Following the recent release of political prisoners, parliament ruled
on Thursday the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National
Liberation Front, two secessionist groups, and the ‘Ginbot 7’, an
exiled opposition movement, were no longer “terrorist” groups.
The shake-up by the polyglot former soldier from the Oromo ethnic
group, Ethiopia’s largest, has won plaudits from Asmara to Washington
and drawn comparisons to the 1980s ‘perestroika’ reforms of Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
However, it has also attracted opposition from hardliners in the
Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ethnic Tigrayan party
that has dominated the ruling EPRDF coalition - and by association the
country and economy - for nearly three decades.
Two people were killed in a grenade blast at a massive pro-Abiy rally
in Addis Ababa last month, with the finger of blame pointed at those
opposed to his reform drive.
There has been no claim of responsibility but the attack underscored
the scale of Abiy’s challenge and raised fears - including from
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki - that Ethiopia’s new leader may not
“Ethiopia is now at a turning point or transition. What is the
destination? How will this be achieved?” Isaias said last month in
Asmara’s first response to Abiy’s peace overtures.
In Tigrayan areas near the Eritrean border, locals criticised Abiy’s
olive branch to Asmara, while the TPLF warned that it would “not take
part in any process that harms the people of Tigray”.
It later struck a more conciliatory tone, saying it welcomed Eritrea’s
positive response to Abiy’s overtures. However, some former top-level
‘securocrats’ are not going quietly.
Major-General Teklebrhan Woldearegay, who quit as head of the INSA
cyber-security agency in April, told a Tigrayan radio station this
week Abiy was “being undemocratic and acting like a king”.
Gebreyesus Gebregziabher, the axed prisons chief, is a TPLF member
while his replacement is from Abiy’s party, the Oromo People’s
Abiy was elected to the helm of the four-party EPRDF in March after
three years of violent protests by ethnic Oromo and other groups who
felt they were being exploited and abused in an economic development
02-JUL-2018 :: Ethiopia Rising. @TheStarKenya
Abiy Ahmed Ali (Amharic: አብይ አህመድ አሊ, Oromo: Abiyyi Ahimad Alii; born
15 August 1976) was appointed the 12th Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 2
April 2018. He grew up in a Muslim family (Ahmed Ali, his Oromo
father; Tezeta Wolde, his mother) and with Oromo Muslim and Christian
grandparents. He is evidently a Virilian and Gladwellian Figure.
“To create one contagious movement, you often have to create many
small movements first.”
“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable,
implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push — in just the
right place — it can be tipped.” — Malcolm Gladwell
He has been Prime Minster for 90 days. During those 90 days, he has
criss crossed the Country, he has ended a State of Emergency, released
thousands of Political Prisoners, thawed relations with Eritrea [29
Mar 2018 H.E. Abiy Ahmed @PM_AbiyAhmed - It is time. Lets build a wall
of love between #Ethiopia & #Eritrea], bagged a $1b from the U.A.E.'s
MBZ, announced a dramatic economic about-turn and thats not the end of
it. In Matters language and linguistics he has tapped into a ''Nelson
Mandela'' 1994 mood. These 90 or so days represent the most
consequential arrival of an African Politician on the African Stage
since Mandela walked out of prison blinking in the sunlight and
constructed his ''Rainbow Nation''
I was watching the France Argentina Game and the arrival of Kylian
Mbappe on the World Stage at the tender age of 19. I recalled watching
the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi order on a night of a full moon
in Konya, Turkey. And i thought to myself what do they all have in
common with Abiy Ahmed. Its all about Speed and Velocity. Paul Virilio
terms it 'dromology', which he defined as the "science (or logic) of
speed“. He notes that the speed at which something happens may change
its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to
dominate that which is slower.
'Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory
is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a
matter of movement and circulation.'
Virilio argues that the traditional feudal fortified city disappeared
because of the increasing sophistication of weapons and possibilities
for warfare. For Virilio, the concept of siege warfare became rather a
war of movement.
Abiy Ahmed has moved at lightning speed, the Old Guard is like ''the
traditional feudal fortified city''
He said on 19 JUN 18 "The ppl of Tigray are still begging for a drop
of water; TPLF [the party[ is not the people of Tigray"
On the same day he said, "we are in debt, we have to pay back but we
can't. And secondarily, we aren't able to finish projects we have
started." and announced his economic Pivot. Of course, the downside
risk of all this infrastructure is plain to see and Sri Lanka and the
Tale of its Hambantota Port is now a cautionary Tale. FX reserves were
at less than a month's worth of imports and something needed to be
done. Expectations are high. The Prime Minister needs to execute real
quick on the economic front but if he levels the playing Field, a
whole Troop of folks will be looking to pile in. That Troop will
include the Ethiopian Diaspora, Foreign Investors and i am sure our
very own Safaricom who must have already presented the Prime minister
with a copy of the MIT research on M-Pesa which confirmed access to
mobile-money services increased daily per capita consumption levels of
two percent of Kenyan households, lifting them out of extreme poverty.
Abiy Ahmed's first 90 days have been as remarkable as the less than 90
minutes of France's Mbappe's performance on Saturday.
Djibouti launches 'Africa's biggest free trade zone'
The Horn of Africa nation, located at the mouth of the Red Sea and
south of the Suez Canal, in 2017 unveiled three new ports and a
railway linking it to landlocked Ethiopia, as part of its bid to
become a global trade and logistics hub.
Somalia's president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, hailed the free-trade
zone as a "victory for East Africa", in comments echoed at the
ceremony by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Paul
Kagame of Rwanda.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International
Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes,
was also there.
The zone, which is connected to Djibouti's main ports, aims at
diversifying the economy, creating new jobs and luring foreign
investment through tax-free incentives and full logistical support.
The pilot phase launched Thursday comprises a 240-hectare (593-acre) site.
On its scheduled completion 10 years from now, the $3.5-billion
initiative will span 4,800 hectares -- the largest free-trade zone on
The project hopes to see foreign companies setting up manufacturing
plants within the zone, adding value to products instead of merely
importing and exporting raw materials.
"The volume of goods travelling to East Africa keeps increasing. Every
time a product arrives in the continent without being transformed it
is a missed opportunity for Africa," said Aboubaker Omar Hadi,
chairman of the Ports and Free Zones Authority.
Zimbabwe currency crisis stymies reform
A security company entrusts one of its guards to collect US$4,000 from
a client. The client hands over not just $4,000 — but an extra ten
dollars. And yet the guard is charged for allegedly stealing from his
While the case that came before magistrates in May in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe’s second city, sounds topsy-turvy, the explanation is simple.
The guard was accused of being given US dollars by the client but
handing over to his employer “bond notes”, a surrogate dollar in the
southern African nation.
While bond notes are officially worth the same as the real thing,
their street value is far less. Fencing the dollars and substituting
bond notes allegedly meant a huge profit for the guard, had
miscounting the money not raised suspicions.
The guard was acquitted, but the bizarre accusation sheds light on the
severity of a cash crisis that some fear jeopardises the country’s
economic recovery following the end of Robert Mugabe’s decades-long
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was installed as president when army
commanders overthrew Mr Mugabe last year, has declared Zimbabwe “open
for business”. His government has courted investors from London to
Beijing and promised to change laws that are hostile to foreign
“Zimbabwe’s opening up for everybody . . . it is certainly more open
for business than it has been for decades,” says Adonis Pouroulis, a
member of a South African mining family whose investments include
Tharisa, a London-listed company that has forged ahead with deals to
invest in platinum and chrome mines in Zimbabwe since Mr Mnangagwa
But the influx of foreign cash needed to resolve the currency crisis
and spur economic growth hinges on presidential elections this month
and whether Mr Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF reverts to type and rigs the
polls. Without that international investment, closed ATMs, empty
petrol stations and a convoluted daily hustle to find petty cash will
remain a fact of life in Zimbabwe.
Last month the crisis also became a mortal threat to Fastjet, the
low-cost southern African airline that expanded rapidly in Zimbabwe.
Fastjet has almost $7m of its cash reserves trapped in the country,
which led it into an emergency share issue after warning that it might
have to halt trading.
“This economy is bullshit,” said Takudzwa, a trader in the sprawling
Mbare Musika market in Harare, the capital. “What’s the actual change
taking place? When Mugabe was there, things were tight [with cash].
But now it’s worse,” the 22-year-old says, counting a crinkly wad of
the violet and green bond notes.
“In the papers they say that they’re equal — but if I can get 100
[real] dollars, someone will offer me $130 [in bond notes],” another
trader in Mbare said. He would be offered about $145 in EcoCash, a
form of mobile money, reflecting an even deeper distrust of electronic
The scarcity is due in part to too few dollars flowing into Zimbabwe.
Export industries declined under Mr Mugabe and instability in Zanu-PF
in the last years of his presidency scared off foreign investment.
But the government has also run up huge electronic balances to service
a budget deficit, including a $1.2bn central bank overdraft as of
February this year. This has bloated the financial system, with about
$8bn in deposits versus less than $70m cash in banks, leading many to
store up physical cash.
“I left $6.5bn in the system, but Zimbabwe got fiscalitis — spend,
spend, spend,” said Tendai Biti, an opposition politician. Mr Biti
oversaw the old currency’s abolition as finance minister in a forlorn
power-sharing arrangement with Zanu-PF between 2009 and 2013. The MDC
Alliance, a coalition of several opposition parties including Mr
Biti’s that is contesting the July 30 poll, said it would abolish bond
notes if it wins.
This is an economy that is operating without a currency,” said Yvonne
Mhango, Sub-Saharan Africa economist for Renaissance Capital. “The
slowdown we are seeing is due to the liquidity crisis
But more aggressive action may be needed given how the shortage has
distorted economic activity. OK Zimbabwe, the country’s biggest
retailer, said that the difficulty of finding foreign currency was
pushing prices up. Hotels and restaurants still accepting bond notes
at the official rate said that they may also have to raise prices to
keep up with the real value. Queues outside banks, where account
withdrawals are increasingly limited to $20 a day, often start at 1am.
“This is an economy that is operating without a currency,” said Yvonne
Mhango, Sub-Saharan Africa economist for Renaissance Capital. “The
slowdown we are seeing is due to the liquidity crisis.”
But some help is on its way. CDC, the British development finance
group, in May launched a $100m loan facility with Standard Chartered
aimed at Zimbabwean businesses struggling with shortages of foreign
currency. It is an implicit bet on the currency being normalised in
Zimbabwe: borrowers will have to pay dollars back. But Ms Mhango said
between $1bn and $2bn might be needed to begin tackling the shortage —
money that would only materialise if the July elections are credible
and international lenders return to the table for talks.
Others are braced for a devaluation of Zimbabwe’s surrogate dollars.
“They need to address the exchange rate. Our banking system is
compromised beyond belief,” said one Harare-based investment manager
who believes that devaluation is inevitable.
Ms Mhango agreed devaluation is likely. “Whatever your electronic
balance is showing, you may take a haircut on that . . . it may take
up to 30 per cent,” she said. “It needs to happen. There’s no other
way around it.”
Zimbabwe minister sees election boost to 'collapsed' economy @YahooNews
In an interview with AFP, Patrick Chinamasa, one of President Emmerson
Mnangagwa's closest allies, predicted the ruling ZANU-PF party would
"resoundingly" win the July 30 vote, the first elections since Mugabe
was ousted last November after 37 years in power.
Mnangagwa is banking on victory to provide a much-needed endorsement
of his presidency and lure foreign investors to an economy wrecked
under Mugabe's long rule.
After the seizure of white-owned farms triggered hyperinflation, GDP
nearly halved between 2000 and 2008 -- a decline described by the
World Bank as the sharpest contraction of its kind in a peacetime
"I'm very confident that our president, Mnangagwa, is going to win
resoundingly. ZANU-PF also is going to win resoundingly," Chinamasa
told AFP after a day of campaigning in his constituency in the east of
"We thank the former president for sticking it out in order to resolve
the land question. We paid a price, and the price was that the economy
collapsed," he said.
"Now the task before President Mnangagwa is to recover the economy and
that is what he is doing now by re-engaging not just economically, but
also politically, so that we normalise political relations."
"I projected 4.5 percent growth and I consider that conservative in
the light of the measures that we have taken," Chinamasa, a former
Mugabe loyalist, told AFP.
"It is very clear that we are going to achieve at least six percent
growth this year (because) much of the environment which investors
were complaining about has been corrected."
The reforms, including of the unpopular indigenisation policy which
forced foreign firms to cede 51 percent stakes to locals, have
"generated a lot of goodwill, a lot of interest," said Chinamasa.
"We find ourselves completely overwhelmed by the business delegations
which have been visiting us. Some of them have already materialised
into concrete and substantial investments, some will mature as we go
"As we re-engage, that is... our expectation, to have access to
capital. If we have that, this country will lift up."
We're over borrowing ceiling, says @CBKKenya Governor @njorogep @KTNNews
Kenya cannot afford to take more loans since mega infrastructure
projects undertaken by the Government are not making any money to
repay debts. Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge said the State had
to abandon the model of borrowing and let the private sector drive the
“We have less headroom to borrow and we are running out of space. We
need to look at public-private partnership and build operate and
transfer models,” said Dr Njoroge.
“We have had 15 per cent rise in debt over the past few years but what
is the return? In fact it is negative, infrastructure is costing us
money. We do not have to look very far, Hambantota port in Sri Lanka
is gone,” said Rich Management CEO Aly Khan Satchu.
Break even Operations at the Standard Gauge Railways will take at
least three years before it breaks even, according to Kenya Railways
Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina. And until then the
Government is sinking in more money to run it. “Any business takes
about five years to break even and we are targeting three. We want to
have a surplus by five years,” said Mr Maina. He said he could not
provide the exact cost-plugging the Government was doing because
factors keep changing, citing the number of trains they are running,
which will soon grow to seven, as an example.
In energy, Kenya is paying billions of shillings for over-capacity and
guarantees to firms for idle plants, including Sh13.9 billion to Lake
Turkana Wind Power and Sh37 billion to Lamu Coal-fired plant. On
roads, the Government has realised that the Road Maintenance Levy
factored in retail fuel prices has not been adequate to cater for road
repairs, and hence use of major trunk roads will attract a fee as the
Government sets up toll stations along them.
The three were speaking yesterday at the Moody’s fifth Annual East
Africa Summit in Nairobi where the ratings firm pointed out that
commercial borrowing has contributed to worsening debt affordability.
“Interest payments take up a larger share of Government revenue in all
four East African countries compared with five years ago,” Moodys said
in a report. “The deterioration in debt affordability has been most
severe in Kenya; interest on debt took up 19 per cent of revenue in FY
2016/17, up from 11 per cent in FY 2011/12, which was already above
the B-rated median,” the ratings agency said. Despite the clarion call
for Public Private Partnerships to deliver the Government’s agenda,
Treasury has continued to run huge deficits and targets to borrow
Sh562.7 billion in the current financial year. The debt levels have
hit Sh5 trillion and with large repayments pushing interest and
redemption to Sh870 billion, including two syndicated loans and the
part of the 2014 Eurobonds.
The Government says that debt which is currently 60 per cent of the
GDP is still manageable, maintaining that the tipping point is 74 per
“If we are talking about 74 per cent of the GDP are we deluded? We are
extremely fortunate that the shilling strengthened because of growth
in remittances,” said Mr Satchu.
The CBK boss, however, said fiscal consolidation targeting 5.7 per
cent of GDP will be good for the economy, offering hope that the State
will borrow less. Treasury wants to offload pension burden to a scheme
where civil servants contribute, control procurement and pre-approve
any new projects to limit spending.
Fresh impetus for bilateral relations: President Berset to visit Kenya
Bern, 04.07.2018 - Switzerland and Kenya want to broaden their
relations. To strengthen contacts at the highest political level,
President Alain Berset will travel to Kenya on an official visit.
Official talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta are scheduled for
Monday, 9 July. On Tuesday, 10 July, Mr Berset will visit the Kakuma
The meeting will focus on economic and political relations between the
two countries. Other important topics include cooperation in the fight
against corruption and discussions on the health sector. The political
situation in Eastern Africa and international cooperation between
Switzerland and Kenya will also be on the agenda.
Mr Berset will hold a meeting with Chief Justice David Maraga. In
addition, meetings are planned with representatives from the Kenyan
civil society, members of the arts scene and the Swiss community.
On Tuesday, 10 July, Mr Berset will visit the Kakuma refugee camp in
Turkana County in northern Kenya. Kenya has half a million refugees,
most of them from Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, where parts of the civilian population have fled internal
conflicts. Swiss Humanitarian Aid is active on Kenyan territory: in
Kakuma, where 186,000 people have found refuge, it finances vocational
training and other projects.
Kenya is one of the most influential countries on the African
continent. Relations with Switzerland are good and have been
expanding. Kenya is one of Switzerland's five most important trading
partners south of the Sahara. There is potential for closer economic
relations in various fields such as the pharmaceutical and healthcare
Bilateral relations Switzerland-Kenya
In 2013, Kenya was Switzerland’s fifth-largest trading partner in
Sub-Saharan Africa; the volume of bilateral trade in 2013 amounted to
CHF 108 million. Switzerland imported almost exclusively agricultural
products, while it exported primarily pharmaceuticals and chemical
The SDC regional office for the Horn of Africa is based in Nairobi. It
provides humanitarian aid in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and
Droughts regularly occur in the north and north-east of the country,
as was the case in 2011, when more than 3 million people were rendered
dependent on humanitarian aid. In addition, Kenya is again confronted
with large flows of refugees from neighbouring Somalia. The largest
refugee camp in the world is in Dabaab in eastern Kenya not far from
the border with Somalia.
With a total budget of CHF 140 million (94.32% of which is contributed
by the SDC), the 2013–2016 Cooperation Strategy for the Horn of Africa
covers conflict zones in Somalia and environs, including Kenya.
In addition, 950 Swiss citizens live in Kenya (2015).