President Uhuru Kenyatta is making his third visit to the Caribbean region from October 4-7, 2021. This closely follows the successful visits of the two Prime Ministers of Jamaica and Barbados to Kenya in December 2019.
Kenya’s engagement in the Caribbean stems from its independence movement with loyal supporters such as Dudley Thompson, Marcus Garvey, Henry Williams, George Padmore, Ras Makonnen and many others who helped many African countries, including Kenya, fight for independence.
Fidel Castro, Walter Rodney and others were heroes who continued to support the liberation struggle after the 1960s and 1970s, after most African countries gained independence.
These commitments continued over the past five decades but gained prominence within Africa, particularly in the corridors of the African Union (AU) when President Kenyatta took office and Kenya established an embassy in Cuba in 2016, the first in Central America and the larger Caribbean area.
This was followed by a series of overseas visits and events, with Uhuru revisiting Cuba in 2018, Jamaica and Barbados in 2019, and Barbados in 2021.
Hand over the coat
This was followed by landmark events, with Kenya chairing the 14th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2016, hosting the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy in 2018, and hosting and ascending the organization’s presidency of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in 2019, a seat on the UN Security Council in 2020 and hosted the first ever Africa-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit in 2021.
With this in mind, the President is returning to Barbados not only to attend the 15th session of UNCTAD and hand over the cloak to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, but also to lead a strong business delegation to open up new and emerging markets within CARICOM and especially in the FINTECH, geothermal, oil and gas, banking, manufacturing, transport and shipping, agriculture and environment sectors.
During the visit and in accordance with the instructions of the heads of state and government during the Africa / CARICOM summit, a MoU between Africa and CARICOM will be signed on the sidelines of the UNCTAD meeting, which will form the basis for the establishment of the necessary key structures for the institutionalization of these critical partnership in order to give effect and new hope to South-South cooperation.
Kenya’s diplomatic mission to the Caribbean is a strategic milestone in its long and determined efforts to bring Kenya, Africa and the Caribbean together at the highest levels of government and politics, with the main aim of opening new frontiers in terms of unity, trade, connectivity and institutions Building.
Mr Muchiri is the Kenya High Commissioner for Barbados and the authorized representative for CARICOM