Kenya to host Sh8 billion Africa disease control centre

Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House today. The meeting outlined extra measures to combat Coronavirus. [PSCU]

Kenya will host an African Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC), with China pledging to fund construction of Sh8.3 billion building to house the facility.

This is after the Cabinet today agreed to a request by the African Union and the World Health Organisation for Kenya to host Africa CDC. 

The centre will position Kenya as a regional and continental hub in medical research and disease control, and give the country a head-start in combating disease outbreaks like the current coronavirus pandemic, said a statement released by State House after the Cabinet meeting.  

"As part of its support towards the establishment of the Africa CDC in Kenya, the Chinese government has offered to put up a 21-storey office building at an estimated cost of Sh8.3 billion. Once complete, Africa CDC will provide job opportunities to Kenyans in technical, administrative and support functions," added the statement.

At the same time, the Cabinet issued a warning to people spreading fake news on the Coronavirus situation in the country, saying purveyors of such information will be dealt with in accordance with established laws.

The Cabinet meeting held on Thursday at State House, Nairobi, and chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, directed law enforcement agencies to pursue and arrest individuals spreading false information on the disease.

Cabinet sitting acknowledged the critical role played by the media in relaying proper information and thanked the Kenyan media for their leading role in awareness creation on the global pandemic.

As part of concerted efforts by the government to protect Kenyans from exploitation by wayward traders, the Cabinet directed security and consumer protection agencies to intensify the ongoing crackdown on businesses that are taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak to hoard and/or hike commodity prices.

Additionally, the Cabinet tasked the multi-agency team on contraband goods to release 400,000 litres of ethanol held as exhibit material to manufacturers for the blending of hand sanitisers for distribution to the public.

The Cabinet meeting also received and discussed a report from the National Treasury on the projected impact of Coronavirus pandemic to the economy and resolved to align budgetary allocations and other fiscal considerations accordingly.

On pending bills, the Cabinet was briefed on the status of outstanding payments in the Prisons Department and the National Youth Service, and resolved to set up a Sh14 billion special fund to pay genuine suppliers.

The Cabinet also directed Cabinet Secretaries for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, and the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning to establish a National Food Reserve system which will procure receipts through competitive commercial processes using the Warehouse Receipt System so as to avoid market distortions.

It further directed the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture to prepare legislative reforms of the National Cereals and Produce Board to establish the National Food Reserve and NCPB Trading Divisions.

In addition, the Cabinet directed the Cabinet Secretaries for Agriculture and Treasury to take administrative steps to cause NCPB to cede at least 5 million bags or 25% of the current NCPB stock holding through commercial lease so as to spur growth of private sector roles and the Warehouse Receipt System operations.

The Cabinet approved the new National Civil Aviation Sector Management Bill. The Bill is part of bold steps being taken by the Government to position Kenya as Africa's leading aviation hub.