President Uhuru Kenya is in Paris for a state visit that will focus on boosting cooperation between Kenya and France in matters of security, trade, investment and tourism.
President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta arrived at the French capital on a day when Kenyan athletes stamped their authority as the undisputed world champions at the 40th edition of the Paris Marathon. The Head of State and the First Lady met and congratulated the Kenyan team for their sterling victory at the Paris marathon.
“You have once again made us proud. We commend you for your victory,” President Kenyatta said.
Kenya’s victory at the Paris Marathon was led by Cyprian Kotut who won the marathon in personal best of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 13 seconds, followed by defending champion Mark Korir in second position in 2:07:31 as Commonwealth Games marathon silver medalist Stephen Chemlany settled for the third position in 2 hours, 7minutes and 39 seconds.
President Kenyatta and his host President François Hollande will on Monday hold a bilateral meeting that will seek to forge a strategic partnership to stem the rise of violent extremism in Africa and the globe among other matters of mutual benefit to the two countries.
Others areas of cooperation likely to feature at the bilateral meeting between the two leaders and their delegations include energy, health, education, agriculture, water, sports and culture.
President Kenyatta will also meet French importers of Kenyan products, the Secretary General of the Rungis International Market and Mr. Pierre Gattaz, the President of MEDEF, the 800,000 member-strong network of leading French entrepreneurs.
On Tuesday, the President will separately meet members of the French private sector and French tourism stakeholders to explore ways of increasing the number of French tourists to Kenya. France is one of the biggest sources of tourists for the Kenyan market.
President Kenyatta will also hold talks with the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova as well as meet Kenyans living and working in France.
The plane carrying the President and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta touch down at Paris Orly Airport shortly after 8.00 pm (Kenyan time).
Speaking to the press before President Kenyatta’s arrival, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the visit is a “marker” of where the relationship of Kenya and France stands today.
“We consider France as a partner not a donor because the work we have been doing together is not the kind that happens when it is a donor-recipient relationship. It is a relationship that France would have even with the developed world with joint ventures where resources coming into the country are investments not aid,” Amb. Amina said.
The Cabinet Secretary disclosed that during President Kenyatta’s visit to France, a record seven agreements will be signed that will inject into the Kenyan economy 250 million Euros.
Amb. Amina said the President’s visit and the Kenyan athletes’ victory at this year’s Paris Marathon are a “green light” for French tourists to visit Kenya.