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VIDEO: Trump meets Uhuru at White House, announces plans to negotiate Trade Agreement with Kenya

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President Donald Trump met Thursday with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House and announced the United States plans to initiate trade agreement negotiations with the Republic of Kenya.

Kenya continues to be a vital partner to the United States in Africa and beyond. Since President Kenyatta’s August 2018 visit, when the two leaders established the United States-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, the two countries have expanded partnership across many areas.

“President Trump looks forward to building on this momentum and discussing new opportunities to advance cooperation and trade,” said a statement from the White House.

“Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties,” said U.S.Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.”

Kenya is strategically important to the U.S., as the U.S. tries to offset the influence of China. China eclipsed the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner more than a decade ago.
Kenyatta’s visit to Trump’s White House is rare for an African head of state. Kenyatta met with Trump once before in August 2018, when as the White House said Thursday, “the two leaders established the United States-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.”


Trump has not shown much interest in African countries since he has been in office. The U.S. has free trade pacts with 20 countries, but none in Africa.

The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday, however, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit Africa for the first time from Feb. 15 to 19, with stops scheduled in Angola, Ethiopia and Senegal.

Trade between the U.S. and Kenya stands at about $1 billion a year.  Over 70% ($466 million in 2018) of Kenya’s exports to the U.S. entered under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga were on Wednesday the key note speakers at a luncheon organised to mark this year’s US National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.

The President recounted the distabilising impact post-election conflicts have had on the country’s growth over the last thirty years saying the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is aimed at finding a homegrown solution to the divisive nature of Kenyan politics.

A poster announcing the invite to the White House. PHOTO|FILE

 

He noted that divisive politics and the resultant ethnic tensions negatively affect the country’s development trajectory saying, “once the election comes, everything stops…business stops one year before an election and restarts one year after an election”.

“It is impossible to bring prosperity and longterm economic stability that’s required for a nation to develop and grow without stable peace.

“Everybody used to plan their businesses around the election cycle,” President Kenyatta told the international audience that comprised mostly of senior American officials.

President Kenyatta, who retraced Kenya’s history of electon related ethnic conflicts since the adoption of multiparty democracy in the early 90’s, said his coming together with his main political challenger Raila Odinga was motivated by the realisation that the disruption of the economy by electoral tensions every so often was not sustainable.

He narrated the tense and long process leading to the “handshake” with Mr Odinga saying they went against the hard-line positions held by their supporters.

“We sat in a room and it took almost six hours for us to even begin talking anything…it was, what you call, excruciating silence because nobody wanted to be the first to say anything,” President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader expressed satisfaction that millions of Kenyans have joined and are participating in the BBI process saying democracy cannot thrive in an environment of political uncertainty.

“We shook hands and embraced and that one single moment changed the whole country. Because nobody would ever have imagined that we would shake hands and embrace,” the President said.

He continued: “Since then, we have walked as brothers, we have brought onboard (Kenyans) and said that this process that we’ve started is not a political process but rather a process that seeks to entrench our democracy.”

The President said through the BBI, Kenya had began the process of reconciliation and national healing adding that his greatest desire is to leave a peaceful and united country.

“The greatest gift that me and my brother (Raila Odinga) can possibly ever leave the people of Kenya is the gift of peace, the gift of love and unity of all our people. And that’s the mission that we are on,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he shares the President’s determination and committment to achieve national cohesion through the BBI process by building trust and unity among Kenyans.

The opposition leader said BBI is a historic journey to a united and stable Kenya adding that the process will also help address several challenges facing the country including youth unemployment, corruption and negative ethnicity.

“We discovered that there were no national ethos. We talked about shared prosperity or disparity in terms of regional development, ethnicity as a factor that divides our people. We talked about issues of corruption as a cancer in our society,” Mr Odinga said.

President Kenyatta was introduced to the distinguished audience by Senator Christopher Coons who is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Delaware Senator spoke glowingly of President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga saying the determination by the two Kenyan leaders to unite their country by reaching out to each other and closing ranks makes them global role models.

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Lesotho Prime Minister resigns, Kenyan President was the last head of state to see him before he was forced out of office

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The party is over and the curtain has come down for the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane.

On Thursday, in a televised speech in the capital, Maseru, Mr. Thabane announced his resignation.

“Today I wish to reiterate my announcement to retire from office. I might still have the necessary zeal and fervor to continue serving my people and country, but the truth is that at my age I have lost most of my energy. I’m not as energetic as I use to be a few years ago,” he said

AFP

The 80-year old said the decision has been the hardest he’s made in his career. His resignation follows immense pressure from the ruling party and the opposition to resign after he was linked with the murder of his former and late wife Lilopelo Thabane.

“We… have decided that the PM should leave office by Thursday,” Montoeli Masoetsa, the party spokesman said.

“We cannot afford to have him any longer in office and we think it’s only for the best,” he told AFP.

Lilopelo was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital Maseru two days before he took office.

Lesotho former first lady, the late wife Lilopelo. (Daily mail.)

On Thursday, the deputy police commissioner, Paseka Mokete, said the 80-year old leader will be charged with the murder of his late wife.

“The prime minister is going to be charged with the murder. The police are preparing directives and he will probably be charged tomorrow,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete told Reuters by telephone

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane. (timeslive)

Already police are closing in on his current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, who is accused of ordering the hit. She was detained this month and charged with ordering the murder, but is currently out on bail.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was the last head of state to see him before he was forced out of office.

Last year in the month of December, Mr. Thabane became the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho to undertake a state visit to Kenya after he touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for a three day state visit.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

He was formally received by his host President Kenyatta at a colourful ceremony that included a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army and a 19-gun salute.

The elaborate state reception ceremonies were followed by a private meeting between the two leaders before they led their respective delegations in bilateral talks that culminated in the signing of three pacts namely; a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), a Memorandum of Understanding for Bilateral consultations as well as a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sports.

Mr. Kenyatta was banking on Thabane’s support and through him that of other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in campaigning for Kenya’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in the election slated for June next year.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Hon. Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

By Pulse Live

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Coronavirus costs minister job in Rwanda

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Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has hinted at firing more ministers in the coming days, accusing them of lying, carelessness and indiscipline.

At the Leader’s Retreat on Sunday hosted at the Gabiro Military Training Centre, Kagame warned that some officials “could be next”, following the firing of three top officials over the last three weeks, among them Minister of Health Diane Gashumba.

Dr Gashumba, who has served as Minister of Health since 2016, was sacked on Friday evening following “a series of habitual gross errors and repeated leadership failures,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced.

But speaking at the National Leadership Retreat, President Paul Kagame accused Dr Gashumba of lying to him about the availability of kits to test individuals for the deadly Coronavirus, Covid-19.

“One morning, I called one of the leaders and the Prime Minister about the Coronavirus and asked that they examine each one of us ahead of the Leader’s Retreat. I told them to tell the minister of health to ensure this.

“She responded that we have 3,500 kits, and that using 400 of them to test leaders would seriously deplete the number of kits we have. The person I sent told her that the message is an instruction and that if she has objections she should call me.

Started giving excuses

“Later we discovered that we do not have the kits as she said. We have kits for only 95 people and not 3,500. I asked her about this and she started giving excuses in a long story. You leaders, you cannot even speak the truth; how do you expect to solve problems?” President Kagame said.

He then accused former State Minister for Education, Isaac Munyakazi, of accepting a bribe of Rwf500,000 (about $550) to doctor school rankings.

“Munyakazi met officials of some school that had been ranked last and they asked him to rank it among the top schools. He complied by putting the school among the top schools. He was awarded just Rwf500,000 for it. If I had not fired him, he would be here with us and none of you would come up to ask me why. That is how you have normalised bad behaviour,” President Kagame told the officials.

He said he sacked the Minister for Justice, Evode Uwizeyimana, for displaying “bad manners on several occasions.”

“Evode parked his vehicle in a place that people are not supposed to park and then tried to enter a building without being checked. The security guard followed him and politely told him that he must be checked but he instead beat her and threw her to the ground,” President Kagame said.

“But it was not the first or second time. This is how he has been conducting himself and some of you knew this and you were quiet about it. You had shown him that he could get away with such behaviour. Which kind of people are you?”

President Kagame has hinted that more officials could be heading out the door.

Among the embattled ministers include Minister of Defence Major Gen Albert Musasira and Minister of Internal Security Gen Patrick Nyanvumba.

The President said the two ministers must explain a case regarding the state of national hospitals and warned that they could also be on their “way out”, without divulging further details.

In December last year, President Kagame fired Ms Seraphine Mukantabana, former chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, over mismanaging the commission. Mr James Musoni, a long-serving top official, was dismissed as Minister of Infrastructure in March 2018.

Mr Musoni, however, returned to government in October last year when he was appointed ambassador to Zimbabwe. In October 2018, President Paul Kagame sent home four senior officials for “gross misconduct” and also sacked an entire unit at the Ministry of Health for “wasting public resources”.

By NN

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Barclays Bank Kenya is now ABSA Kenya and it has opened its doors to the public

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Following the issuance of the requisite regulatory approvals, Barclays Bank of Kenya re-branded to Absa Bank Kenya on 10 February 2020 and is now open for business.

Absa Bank Kenya Plc  is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Absa Group Limited.[2] It is licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, the central bank and national banking regulator.

The headquarters and main branch of the bank are located at Barclays Westend Building, off of Waiyaki Way, in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city.

The bank is a large financial services institution in Kenya, with an asset base in excess of KES:259.718 billion (US$2.597 billion), with shareholders’ equity of KES:42,388 billion (US$423,83 billion). At that time the bank serviced 833 268 customer accounts, in 121 branches, 214 automated teller machines and 2,591 members of staff.

Barclays Africa Group Limited has officially been renamed Absa Group Limited and started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange today. The name change marks the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African group with a new brand design fit for a forward-looking business in a digital age.

No longer just a South African brand, the new Absa Group has a presence in 12 African countries and plans to open international offices in the UK and the US.

“Our new name and brand are an expression of our new purpose and strategic direction, which commits us to growing in Africa,” Absa Group Limited Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos said. “We are rallying around a shared sense of purpose and identity while celebrating our diversity,” she said.

Absa Group launched a new growth strategy on 1 March 2018 as it separates from Barclays PLC. The strategy prioritises cultural transformation as well as restoring leadership position in the group’s core business areas, and developing pioneering propositions for customers and clients. The new Absa brand design is an expression of the group’s new purpose, which is:  ‘bringing your possibility to life’.

The rollout of the new Absa brand design in South Africa will be completed in 2019. The new Absa brand will also be rolled out to Absa Group’s Barclays banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by mid-2020, subject to approvals including from regulators in those countries. Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme.

In renaming Barclays banks across the continent, the group will be able to build on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank. The brand has substantial equity – Absa was named the fourth most valuable brand (with an estimated value of R18.9 billion, or about US$1.5 billion) in South Africa by global brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance this year.

“We would like to build the brand as a bank that Africa’s people can be proud of, a truly independent African bank with global scalability,” said Ramos. “A single brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy; we are excited by the enormous opportunity we have to create a bank that Africa can be proud of.”

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