Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Speech by the Permanent Representative on the occasion of the 55th

Your Excellencies Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Fellow Kenyans,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to begin by thanking you all for making time to join us this evening as we mark and celebrate 55 years of Kenya’s Independence. Kenya’s Independence was a culmination of a long and painful struggle for self-determination to rid the country of the colonial rule. Indeed, a day in which we took our place in the community of nations.
 
The Kenyan experience over the last 55 years, reminds us that nation building is an honorous task and that hard-won freedom, peace and stability must be jealously guarded by all and at all times.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
As a nation, under the leadership of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, we have chosen peace and progress for all the people of Kenya.  To achieve these objectives, the Government has come up with a transformative Agenda to impact on the social and political life of the people and make the economy more competitive and prosperous.
 
Towards this end, the current Administration is focusing on four priority areas. The Big Four Agenda responds to the primary concerns of the Kenyan people. The key areas are food security and nutrition, affordable housing, enhanced manufacturing, and affordable universal healthcare for all.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
The Government is cognizant that these efforts alone cannot lead to the progress that we desire, without concurrent progress in other areas, such as scaling up our investment in infrastructure, education, security and in Governance. In order to enhance the investment regime and increase the competitiveness of our economy; we are deliberately providing skills for our people, especially the youth to put them at par with the best that are internationally available to position them in the market for jobs and improve the earnings and living standards of our people.
 
On the economic front, Kenya has made significant progress.  As a result of prudent national policies, the national income per capita has witnessed a steady growth over the last 10 years, as well as the growth of entrepreneurship among Kenyans.
 
Our investments in the health sector are also bearing fruit.  Kenyans are becoming healthier and are living longer.  The life expectancy has risen from 48 years in 1963 to approximately 67 years today. This is in part due to recent programmes that avail health services to parts of the country that were once under-served.
 
In education, programmes have been put in place that make education free for every child in the Republic, significantly increasing school enrolments.
 
Kenya has also endeavored to ensure that the most vulnerable among its people are better protected, through the Kenya National Safety Net Programme that seeks to improve and enhance social protection in the country, thus guaranteeing a certain standard and quality of living for target groups and populations.
 
Today, Kenyans are a better-informed, and far more empowered people. From growth in productivity, embracing of technology, increase of educational opportunities, to special programmes for the economic empowerment and social advancement of women and youth.
 
These achievements demonstrate how Kenya’s governance continues to prioritize investment in her people and promote inclusiveness of growth and development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
We salute the estimated 3 million Kenyans living in the Diaspora, including those who have taken the time out from their busy schedules to join us today, for the critical role that they continue to play to build our economy through skills transfer and direct foreign investments into the country. Their contribution is a testament of their confidence in the stability of our economy under the current leadership. As a nation we shall continue to ensure that their needs and aspirations for their country are met.
 
The people of Kenya also continue to honour the bravery and professionalism of our troops, who are helping to liberate our region from the scourge of terrorism, to preserve our democracy and way of life.  Their service in the protection of our country and the advancement of the cause of global peace, security and stability under very challenging conditions is an inspiration to Kenyans at large. We shall continue to take part in the regional, continental and global efforts to bring peace and stability around the world.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Over the past 55 years, Kenya’s stature in the community of nations has grown.  We continue to host the only global UN headquarters in the southern hemisphere and Major multi-nationals have chosen Kenya as their continental headquarters. We are grateful to those countries and organizations that continue to show faith in the leadership of the country as we strive to build a conducive environment and facilities to provide the highest level of hospitality to our guests. The openness of our borders, culture and economy is an affirmation of Kenya's desire to forge ahead with regional continental and global integration.
 
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
While appreciating the engagement that Kenya has had with the international community over the years, we remain cognizant of the need to continually work to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation that we enjoy with other countries. We shall endeavor to do so both through the multilateral forum in Geneva, as well as public diplomacy.
 
In that regard, I wish to conclude by thanking all of you for joining us today, to celebrate Kenya’s National Day – the Jamhuri Day. I hope that as we enjoy the evening, each of us will take a moment to reflect on what we can do together to build a better world for us all.
 
I now invite you to raise your glasses to toast to the good health of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and to the prosperity of our Nation.

 

Thank you.      

Asanteni sana.