The role of ambassadors and High Commissioners in the country’s economic recovery took centre stage on Monday when President Mwai Kibaki called on them to develop new strategies that will market the country for foreign investment and tourism.
Speaking during the opening of the 15th Biennial conference in South Coast, President Kibaki challenged the ambassadors and High Commissioners to be aggressive in opening up new markets.
“You must devise aggressive strategies to diversify our export base away from reliance on traditional exports by strengthening trade support networks as a means of trade facilitation and enhancing competitiveness.
“As our ambassadors you should not just be seen as representing a country but take keen interest on what is happening in the country and use it to promote our image especially coming from the post election violence,” he said.
President Kibaki said trade and investment should not be the only priority, adding that the country could tap the vibrant services sector to offset the weaknesses in the export-oriented manufacturing sector.
The government, he said, has developed a policy on Public Private Partnerships which will soon be implemented, adding that the role of diplomats was critical in attracting investors to partner with the government in infrastructure development.
“Besides infrastructure development, trade and investment are critical to the growth of the economy and for this you have an important role to play as we expect you to expand access to traditional markets, explore new ones and attract foreign direct investment.
“Infrastructure development is an important component of Vision 2030 and a large part of its financing will come from the private sector,” President Kibaki said.
Citing medical and conference tourism, education, transportation, ICT, banking and finance, the president urged the country representatives abroad to explore new avenues and tools that will enable Kenya to fully leverage her diplomatic potential.
The theme of the one week conference being held at the Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort is leveraging Kenya’s Diplomacy for Enhanced Competitiveness.
He said foreign ministries around the world are actively engaged in a complex process of change and adaptation to an international environment that is volatile and unpredictable.
But the Head of State was quick to add that the ministry had submitted for Cabinet approval a new foreign policy framework that will guide Kenya’s interaction with the rest of the world.