Speech by Hon. Wycliff Ambetsa Oparanya, Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 during the opening of Executive Seminar for Foreign Diplomats and Government Officials at Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi on 26th February 2009 organized by East African Diplomatic Consultants.
Your Excellencies, distinguished participants ladies and gentlemen, at the onset, let me take this opportunity to thank the Directors of East African Diplomatic Consultants for inviting me to this important Seminar. I am grateful to say that this is a golden opportunity for diplomats accredited to Kenya to learn and interact with Kenyans on one on one basis.
As a Minister responsible for National Planning and Development, I am delighted to say that this is a good occasion for me to say a few words on KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Development policy agenda, under the Grand Coalition Government.
Your Excellencies, I note from the programme that you will be taken through KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Government structures and New political Dispensation, Political and Economic History among others. These topics will give you an overview of KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s challenges and prospects in the face of our Development policy of Vision 2030.Under Vision 2030, Kenya aspires to be among the newly industrialized countries by 2030.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the challenges facing International relations have become immensely complex since the beginning of 21st Century. The conduct of official business between states has become less important than the management of the defining historical process of our times-globalization. Traditional diplomacy, predicted on the conduct of formal relations is no longer tenable and will not stand the test of time. It is equipped neither to address the complex challenges of 21st Century nor deliver the kinds of remedial policy that the globalization era requires. Old style government to government relations, with all of associated conventions and rigidities, remain in the diplomatic mix but their relevance has diminished as the environments to which they are reacting continue to shift and evolve.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the perception that the old tools of traditional diplomacy are no longer sufficient, has led to the current debate which seeks to redefine the nature of diplomacy, and new approaches to diplomatic engagement abroad. The debate is useful and highlights contemporary concerns and focus on elements of emerging theory and practice that can serve to make diplomacy more effective, particularly in the context of taking diplomacy public and producing alternative outcomes.
Your Excellencies, ladies and Gentlemen, this new diplomacy is civic, interactive, and public, which implies a rethinking of representation and the mystery of a much wide range of strategies, tactics and tools. Our success will depend on how we manage information technology advancements, knowledge and globalization.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, in this regard, Kenya has taken measures to mitigate these challenges both locally and internationally.
At the local level, the Government has formulated a comprehensive development strategy under the banner of Vision 2030 which is KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new long term policy blueprint. The vision is supported by three pillars, Economic, Political and Social. Under the Economic pillar, the Government will address KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic growth challenges by raising growth rate by 10% by 2012 in major sectors such as Tourism, Agriculture, Financial services and Manufacturing among others. However, with prolonged drought in many parts of the Country, this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growth target of 7% may not be achieved. The political pillar will ensure moving the Country into the future as one nation.
The Government will implement a wide range of governance reforms taking into considerations all the lessons learnt from the 2007 Post-election crisis. The strategies, projects and programmes formulated will ensure that the country moves to a democratic political system that is issue-based, people centered, result oriented and accountable to the public. The Social pillar, will ensure success in KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s journey towards widespread prosperity by building a just and cohesive society that enjoys equitable social development in a clean and secure environment. This will be fulfilled by transforming eight key sectors including Education, Health, Water, Environment among others. The medium term priorities in these sectors will be anchored on a strong science and technology foundation.
Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, on International scene, the government is rallying support from the International Community through such forums and other formal government channels for the successful implementation of Vision 2030. Through our missions abroad, the development agenda of the Grand Coalition is being articulated to win more friends for support both materially and financially. In line with domestic economic policy, and global events, KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foreign policy has shifted from the traditional political diplomacy to Economic diplomacy.
KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Foreign policy regards economic diplomacy as tool for advancing our goals of creating employment and wealth for Kenyans in a prosperous East African region. With the strongest economy in the region, Kenya is cognizant of the need to ensure an equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation. To expand market access, Kenya is exploring new regional and International frameworks, signing treaties, reviewing and strengthening existing ones. In this regard, Kenya endorsed NEPAD documents in 2002 as a viable continental framework and AU strategy for AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recovery. Kenya has also endorsed the various decisions by the AU aimed at eventually integrating the continentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ economies.
It is also important to note and underscore the prominent role traditional markets in Europe and North America have played in KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development efforts. Kenya is as well determined to protect and expand its traditional markets in these regions. Nonetheless, it is also strengthening strategic ties with emerging economies in Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East and Latin America. Through active participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic diplomacy has continued to advocate for a just and equitable rules and frameworks of international trade, especially for weaker African economies.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, I am impressed by the fact that a Private Sector Organization has taken lead to bring together Government officials and Diplomats accredited to Kenya to share their experiences and exchange views on how to cooperate for the best interests of their countries. The East African Diplomatic Consultants have shown by example on how to move forward the Government policy of Public/Private Sector partnership.
With those few remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I officially declare this Seminar open.