His Excellency Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will arrive in Nairobi today for a three-day State Visit to Kenya.
This is his first stop on a tour of Africa. That he has chosen to start his visit here reinforces Nairobi’s position as the gateway to the continent.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is the first incumbent Head of Israel’s government to visit Kenya, but relations between the two nations go back to colonial times, when the Israeli Government formally communicated with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to express its support for him during his time in detention.
“In 1963, Israel was among the first to recognise our independence, and to establish ties of trade and technical assistance,” Manoah Esipisu, the State House Spokesperson, said in a statement.
Half a century later, those ties remain strong: the Galana-Kulalu irrigation project is an excellent example of the cooperation in agriculture between the two nations.
That cooperation extends to maintaining peace and security. Kenya and Israel have long recognised that terrorism poses a global threat, and that it demands a global answer.
“That is why, over the years, we have worked together to protect our democracies, and to defeat extremism at home and abroad. We will continue that cooperation.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit comes at the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who extended it during his visit to Israel in February, which further proves the vibrant partnership between the two countries.
During that visit to Israel, the President Kenyatta held fruitful discussions with Premier Netanyahu, which took in matters of security, counter-terrorism, irrigation, energy, and agriculture.
The same issues remain at the heart of this visit’s agenda. The President is also keen to deepen trade and investment between Israel and Kenya, and he will be looking to engage the Israeli business leaders who will accompany Premier Netanyahu on this visit.
Equally, a number of instruments and agreements governing investment and taxation have been negotiated by Kenya and Israel.
During this visit, President Kenyatta and the Israeli Prime Minister will sign or reaffirm these agreements, signifying that relations between the two nations have entered a new phase of closer cooperation and partnership.
Consequently, Kenya looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu and his delegation.