The parliamentary team wants the number of embassies to be reduced
Friday, December 03, 2021
- Parliament’s Budget Office (PBO) says the Kenyan ambassadors have failed to increase the country’s trade in those countries despite 61 missions including consulates and liaison offices spread across the five continents.
- Most of the state properties in foreign missions are old and were acquired in the early years of Kenya‘s independence, forcing the government to pay rents for ambassadors in the western capitals.
A parliamentary advisory team has urged Kenya to reduce the number of embassies and hire foreigners for the country’s diplomatic work in order to reduce rental costs and the admission of diplomats abroad.
Parliament’s Budget Office (PBO) says the Kenyan ambassadors have failed to increase the country’s trade in those countries despite 61 missions including consulates and liaison offices spread across the five continents.
PBO said that despite the expansion of Kenyan presence around the world, the target of Kenyan exports has remained narrow, with only 12 countries accounting for 70 percent of total exports in 2020.
The advisory team said that given limited resources, the government should consider reviewing foreign missions and appointing citizens of those countries to act on behalf of Kenya.
“Honorary Consuls offer an efficient diplomatic channel to expand a country’s diplomatic network, as they are more cost-effective than full-fledged missions due to the lower costs associated with maintaining honorary consuls, as they are free of charge and only require reimbursement, those involved in providing their services, âsaid PBO.
In view of the costs of maintaining embassies abroad, Kenyan missions abroad have come into focus.
Most of the state properties in foreign missions are old and were acquired in the early years of Kenya’s independence, forcing the government to pay rents for ambassadors in the western capitals.
The embassy in London and those in New York (UN), Canada, Washington, Russia, Australia, Geneva, Japan, China, South Korea and the consulate in Los Angeles have been described as deplorable and in need of renovation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is targeting at least $ 5 billion annually to buy real estate for 15 years, which will lower the money spent on rent by diplomatic missions overseas.
The spending has challenged the priority of maintaining diplomatic missions at a time when Kenya is struggling to contain its spending due to high debt payments and lower revenues.
Diplomats in London and New York have been forced to rent houses and offices as taxpayer-built residences crumble from neglect.
Auditor-General Reports describe the sad state of affairs in the country’s diplomatic missions and highlight the Kenyan embassies in Washington DC, New York and London, which are the most prestigious diplomatic missions.
This has forced diplomats to rent houses in some of the world’s most expensive cities, driving up the cost of renting the missions.
The cost of renting space for the Kenyan embassy in London is not yet known, but the cost of renting space in the city is among the most expensive in the world.