President Uhuru Kenyatta kicked off his official visit to France on Wednesday, September 30 at the Elysee Palace where he was received by France President Emmanuel Macron. Elysee Palace is the French President’s official residence.
Upon his arrival at the Palace shortly after 9pm local time, President Kenyatta inspected a guard of honour mounted by the French military at the start of an elaborate State reception ceremony.
The two Heads of State then witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements before leading their delegations at a State Banquet hosted in honour of the visiting Kenyan leader. Later, the two leaders retreated for private talks.
Among the agreements reached is a public private partnership (PPP) for the construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway signed between KeNHA and Vinci Concessions. The highway is one of the largest PPP projects in Eastern Africa.
Others were agreements for the development of the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) commuter railway line and the 400KV Menengai-Rongai electricity transmission line.
The Kenyan Head of State arrived in Paris on Tuesday, September 29, with the plane carrying the President and his entourage touching down at Orly Airport, located 13 kilometers south of Paris, at 8pm local time.
In an interview with PSCU ahead of President Kenyatta’s arrival in Paris, Kenya’s ambassador to France Professor Judi Wakhungu disclosed that the Head of State’s visit is a continuation of the historical bilateral ties that have existed between Kenya and France for over half a century.
The envoy added that the President’s visit will particularly help to strengthen people-to-people and commercial ties between the two nations noting that over 100 French companies operate in Kenya.
“The largest component of our relationship is actually education. We have had Kenyan students in France for many years, we have also had French researchers in Kenya for very many years,” Prof Wakhungu disclosed.
“When it comes to investment and the private sector, we have over 100 French companies operating in Kenya,” she added.
Prof Wakhungu highlighted President Kenyatta’s visit that follows President Macron’s historic visit to Nairobi in March last year, the first such visit by a serving French Head of State.