The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Thursday accredited the first Ambassador of Kenya to CARICOM, marking a further step in their rapidly growing relationship.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in receiving the credentials of H.E. Anthony Mwaniki Muchiri, said the occasion added a new chapter to the 2019 milestone year when Kenya’s President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta paid visits to Jamaica and Barbados, and the Prime Minister of Barbados Hon Mia Mottley paid a reciprocal visit to Kenya. During President Kenyatta’s visit, he also had discussions with the then CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Hon Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia, and the CARICOM and Kenyan Foreign Ministers also engaged each other.
“One of the positive outcomes of the visit and those discussions is the provision by Kenya of office space in Nairobi to accommodate CARICOM representation,” Ambassador LaRocque said in the accreditation ceremony.
“Prime Minister Mottley accepted the generous offer during her visit and arrangements are being finalised so that the office could be occupied in the near future. I look forward to signing the tenancy agreement in the coming weeks,” he added.
CARICOM and Kenya are also actively considering a draft Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism between the two sides. This in recognition of the significant scope for stronger collaboration and cooperation, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, people-to-people exchanges, and sustainable development.
Plans for Kenya to host a CARICOM and Africa Summit in 2020 had to be put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but CARICOM Heads of Government have also agreed to seek collaboration with the African Union (AU) to co-sponsor a proposed Summit with European Heads of Government on the issue of Reparations.
The Secretary-General also noted CARICOM’s appreciation for the African Union’s offer for it to participate in the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) which would give the Region access to vaccines at affordable prices. He said Member States are putting the arrangements in place to benefit from ‘this gesture of African-CARICOM solidarity’. CARICOM would also welcome Kenya’s support in its call on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to convene a Global Summit to address the inequity in vaccine access and distribution, he said.
Ambassador Muchiri stated his commitment to continue advancing his country’s efforts to help confront the challenges facing the two regions.
“To confront these challenges, Kenya believes in the importance of the two regions speaking in one voice, strengthening institutional relationships and crafting trade, investment, tourism and culture cooperation between CARICOM and Africa through a more robust Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) post-Cotonou framework as well as a new Intra-regional free trade agreement modelled along the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) and within appropriate World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules,” he said.