President Obama completed a three day trip to Kenya this week, marking the first time that a sitting U.S. President has ever visited the country. The trip was an opportunity for Kenya to highlight to the world the remarkable progress it has made and to showcase its promising future.
During his visit, the President made a number of public speeches, including an address to all Kenyans given at Nairobi’s Kasarni stadium. He spoke to the long arch of progress in Kenya since his father had grown up there, to a time now when it has a fast-emerging economy and has become the trade hub of East Africa. He also spoke about the challenges facing the country and reflected on the extraordinary potential of Kenya’s youth to shape its future and praised Kenya’s peacekeeping efforts in the region and the freedom of its press.
President Obama also visited the Power Africa Innovation Fair to meet with vendors working with Power Africa, USAID’s major initiative to double access to electricity across the continent. He met with business people working in solar power generation, one of Power Africa’s key focus areas in Kenya, and gave a speech about the importance of local innovations in power generation and the potential of solar power to allow Kenya to “leapfrog” over dirty energy sources and move straight to clean energy.
He also took part in bilateral meetings with President Kenyatta, meetings with civil society and political opposition groups and gave the opening address at the ‘Global Entrepreneurship Summit; where he highlighted the power of entrepreneurship to be “the spark of prosperity” which can deliver to create “new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world.”
Throughout the trip, Presidents Obama and Kenyatta jointly announced a number of new agreements and partnerships between Kenya and the US. They announced new funding, training and intelligence-sharing to help the Kenyan security forces in their counterterrorism efforts along with new efforts to promote economic cooperation, particularly focused on infrastructure and energy. A package of financing measures for Africa-based initiatives, including an extra $1 billion of financing for Power Africa from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), was also announced by the White House during the trip.