New French ambassador presents his credentials
Allow me, Your Excellency, to present the compliments of my Head of State and the people of France to you personally and through you to the people of Kenya.
It is my earnest hope that I shall succeed in my endeavours to promote further the relations that exist between our two countries.
President Hollande and the government of France attach great importance to the partnership between France and Kenya.
Fifty years after Kenya’s independence, the generations that now run both our country and yours, did not have to know the colonial period. It is not out of habit or nostalgia that France remains committed to a strong relationship with Africa but because of very contemporary reasons and interests.
Ten percent of the French population is of African origin. France borders the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean where a million French are living and everything that happens in Africa affects France.
As Kenya, France now wants to diversify its relations and its partners in Africa and in the rest of the world. Kenya is one of our priorities as witnessed by our commitments.
The action of the French Development Agency, which you know well as a former Minister of Finance, is in our eyes a partnership model. The volume of AFD’s commitments in Kenya for the last 10 years amount to over Sh120 billions, half of it in the energy sector.
These interventions fall within the framework of the strategy set by Kenya. It is not about support and we do not see ourselves as a donor. It is an investment in our common future and as a partnership. Economic growth for Kenya is in the interest of France and its economy. Our enterprises have understood it very well. More and more are settling and investing in Kenya. In 2013, the turnover of the 63 French companies operating in Kenya represent more than Ksh 230 billion and they directly employ around 8,000 Kenyans.
If the reality of our current partnership is satisfactory, the prospects for partnerships are even more promising in the near future. The French government wishes to double the volume of our trade by 2107.
Still in the economic sector, France will also be associated with the major regional infrastructures promoted by Kenya. As you know, Total will be the operator of 70% of Uganda’s oil production. The company prospects in South Sudan and off the Kenyan coasts and intends to invest in the pipeline of the LAPSSET project.
In terms of security, France and Kenya face a common enemy, which encourages us to strengthen our cooperation in the field of anti–terrorism. France is proud to have provided direct bilateral assistance to the Operation Linda Nchi. We are also proud to support AMISOM, with a contribution of $ 100 million in 2013. We want to do more and do it with Kenya. Terrorists that we are fighting in Mali, AQIM, are allies to Somali Al-Shabaab and we cannot effectively combat Al Qaeda on one ground without fighting in all others.
This question is at the heart of the Elysée summit to be held on 6 and 7 December in Paris, where President Hollande has invited you and where the contribution of Kenya is expected.
France can also offer its expertise in Kenya and technologies to strengthen security on the Kenyan soil. It is the intent of the Centre of command and control for the safety of Nairobi, currently under discussions with your government.
Many other aspects of our bilateral relationship would deserve to be mentioned and I hope to have the opportunity to do it with you or your collaborators. In 2011, our two countries have adopted a declaration on strengthened partnership whose implementation is directed by a roadmap. This document covers most of the aspects of our partnerships and would need to be updated.
France and Kenya are friendly and allied nations for a long time. They share more than interests. They share values and international commitments from which they gained respect and solidarity.
I now have honour to present to Your Excellency the Letter of Recall of my Predecessor and my Credentials by which His Excellency President Mr. François Hollande has appointed me to be the next Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France to the Republic of Kenya.