President Kenyatta holds talks with Madagascar, Sri Lanka Presidents on environment, bilateral ties 

NAIROBI, 15 March 2019 (PSCU) – President Uhuru Kenyatta today at State House, Nairobi, separately held talks with Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina and President Maithripala Sirisena of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The Presidents of Madagascar and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have been in the country to attend the One Planet Summit and the Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 4) which ends today.

The meeting between President Kenyatta and Madagascar President Rajoelina focused on environmental conservation, trade, culture and boosting people-to-people relations as a way of promoting continental integration.

Presidents Kenyatta and Rajoelina agreed to explore new areas of engagement and ways of strengthening bilateral ties between Kenya and Madagascar.

At the meeting with Sri Lankan President Sirisena, President Kenyatta expressed the need for Kenya and Sri Lanka to strengthen their cooperation for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries in a wide range of areas including tourism and agriculture.

President Kenyatta also met interim World Bank President Kristalina Georgieva and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohamed who are in the country for UNEA4 meeting.

The Head of State and the interim World Bank President discussed the Bretton Woods institution’s support to Kenya’s development projects.

Ms Georgieva said after visiting the Geothermal Power Plant at Olkaria in Naivasha, she was impressed by the steps Kenya has made in promoting the use of environmental friendly green energy.

“Kenya has made great strides in the generation of green energy. That is commendable,” the Interim World Bank President said.

The interim World Bank President expressed her institution’s readiness to get involved and enhance Kenya’s digital innovations to boost job creation efforts, noting that Kenya has achieved remarkable progress in the sector.

President Kenyatta said digital literacy in Kenya has transformed the lives of many young people, citing the Ajira Digital Programme that has created many employment opportunities for the youth in the country.

He also urged the World Bank to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), saying they are a major source of employment in the country.

On the use of renewable energy, President Kenyatta informed the interim World Bank President that Kenya targets to attain 100 percent transition to green energy by 2022.

Currently, renewable energy accounts for 70 percent of Kenya’s installed electric power capacity.

“We welcome all the support we can get to achieve 100 percent green energy sufficiency,” President Kenyatta said.

Yesterday during the One Planet Summit at UNEP in Gigiri, Nairobi, Ms Georgieva assured that the World Bank will support Kenya’s efforts to increase its forest cover by funding the restoration of at least 60 million hectares of forest land.

At the meeting with UN Deputy Secretary General Mohamed, President Kenyatta said he was grateful to UN for the milestones Kenya has achieved in environmental conservation and the support to host key conferences on climate change.

The President reiterated Kenya’s unwavering support to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) both as host and member state of the UN.

On her part, the UN Deputy Secretary General appreciated Kenya’s support to the UN and for successfully hosting UNEA4.

President Kenyatta today also received a special message from Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered by Special Envoy for the Middle East and African countries, Mikhail Bogdanov who is also the Russian Federation’s Deputy Foreign Minister.

Russia praised Kenya for spearheading efforts on environmental conservation, citing the banning of plastic carrier bags in August 2017 and hosting the UNEA4 meeting this year.

The Russian Special Envoy said his country was keen on boosting its partnership with Kenya and wants the two countries to work more closely in security, banking, mining and financial sectors.

President Kenyatta appreciated the cooperation between Kenya and Russia, saying he looked forward to seeing the two countries partnering more on agriculture, tourism and health sectors.