Spain lauds Uhuru’s war on graft, affordable housing plan

Spain today lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta over his ongoing crackdown on corruption and economic crimes.

Visiting Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Joseph Borell said the fight against corruption will build confidence among foreign investors.

He spoke when he paid a courtesy call on President Kenyatta at State House Nairobi.

He also acknowledged the March 9 handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga, saying it has ensured peace and stability for which Kenya is known for the region.

“The handshake was a good example on how to overcome internal conflicts and disagreements,” Borell said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said his country is ready to engage and participate towards the achievement of Uhuru’s affordable housing pillar of the Big Four Agenda.

“We have many firms that can be good partners in affordable housing,” he said.

Spain has a unique social housing model where construction, renovation and buying of houses are subsidized by the state through reduced interest loans to providers. Houses developed under this scheme, dubbed ‘Vivienda de Proteccion Publica’ (publicly protected housing) are provided to the public almost entirely on owner-occupation terms, rather than for rent.

Kenya plans to put up at least 500,000 affordable houses by 2022.

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Spain Foreign Minister Joseph Borell and President Uhuru Kenyatta during talks at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 / PSCU

 

The Spanish Minister welcomed Kenya’s continued efforts to improve operations at the Port of Mombasa, saying his country welcomes the reforms the country has taken to enhance efficiency at the facility.

President Kenyatta assured Spain that Kenya is doing everything possible to streamline operations at Kenya’s Mombasa gateway besides de-congesting the port.

“The port was a big loophole for us. We are working on it and soon all the systems will be streamlined,” Uhuru said in a press release by PSCU.

“In about a month, we will be able to see great changes at the port. We are trying to ensure the importation of goods is streamlined.”

President Kenyatta also welcomed Spain’s proposal for a partnership to develop Kenya’s tourist sites and enhance tourist experiences, especially in scuba diving, a hobby that’s becoming a major tourist attraction in the country.

Kenya and Spain also agreed to pursue partnerships in the areas of renewable energy, in solar and wind energy, to enable Kenya to lower the cost of electricity, especially in the nascent industrial parks that are aimed at building the country’s economic muscle.

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Kenya’s Foreign Affairs CS Ambassador Monica Juna, Spain Foreign Minister Joseph Borell and President Uhuru Kenyatta during talks at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 / PSCU

 

The two countries further agreed to develop partnerships in sports, especially in football and athletics. Spain is famed for its highly developed football while Kenya is an African powerhouse in athletics and rugby.

“We are keen on developing football academies across the country where we can start training our youth on the sport from early ages,” Uhuru said.

“Our objective is to tap and develop the football talents of young people and transform this potential into rewarding engagements,” he added.

President Kenyatta and the Spanish Minister underscored the importance of multilateralism in the global war against terrorism and violent extremism.

“Terrorism is a great concern for us. We have suffered terrorism so we understand,” said President Kenyatta adding that it is through solidarity and commitment between nations that the threat of terrorism can be defeated.

Kenya and Spain agreed to support each other during the forthcoming United Nations Security Council elections where both nations are candidates for UN seats.

Those present during the talks were Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma and State House Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy and Strategy, Ruth Kaggia and Spanish Ambassador to Kenya Javier Garcia de Viedma and other top officials.

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