Japan pledges support for UHC in Uhuru, Abe meeting
The ongoing rollout of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme and the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Dongo Kundu dominated talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday night in Japan.
During the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-7) in Yokohama, Japan, Abe said Japan will continue supporting Kenya’s ambition to achieve UHC through public-private partnership arrangements.
Earlier, during the opening session of TICAD7, the premier announced his government’s pledge to support UHC in Africa, which will benefit more than three million people.
The two leaders agreed that with the support of the Japanese government, Kenya will fast track the commencement of the SEZ as well as construction of the Likoni Gate bridge.
Other matters that featured prominently during the talks included regional peace and security, sustainable blue economy and the need to address the trade imbalance between the two countries that is currently in favour of Japan.
Uhuru thanked the Prime Minister for hosting TICAD6 in Kenya in 2016, saying the conference helped raise the country’s profile as an investment destination of choice in Africa.
The President said in the last three years the number of Japanese companies setting shop in Kenya significantly rose from 41 to 57, a feat he termed an indicator of the growing bilateral ties between Tokyo and Nairobi.
Uhuru also asked for Japan’s support in Kenya’s bid to win a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
He invited Abe to attend the 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 25) that will be held in Nairobi between November 12 and 14.
In another side meeting, the President and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres discussed peace and security matters in Eastern African region.
Uhuru invited Guterres to the UN Oceans Conference that Kenya will co-host with Portugal in Lisbon between June 2 and 6, next year.
Earlier, the President separately held talks with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius.
PM Jugnauth assured Uhuru of his country’s support for Kenya in its bid to secure a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council when elections will be held in June 2020.
The two leaders further agreed to conclude discussions on the “Avoidance of Double Tax Agreement” between the two countries by mid September and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Standards by end next month.