The economic diplomacy that Kenya has actively promoted in its engagement with African countries and major powers has started bearing fruits, an international relations expert said on Sunday.
Peter Kagwanja, the CEO of Nairobi based pan-African think-tank, Africa Policy Institute said in a commentary published by a local daily that Kenya’s pursuit of economic diplomacy has unleashed profound benefits.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his inauguration address in April 2013 said economic diplomacy will be the defining feature of Kenya’s engagement with the rest of the world.
Kagwanja noted that Kenya’s enviable status as a trade, investment, transport and logistics hub in the region has been enhanced thanks to economic diplomacy.
“Kenya has recently enhanced its soft power hegemony through its economic diplomacy,” Kagwanja remarked, adding that strategic use of economic tools is behind the current foreign direct investments frenzy in Kenya.
The Kenyan government has refashioned its foreign policy to enhance the country’s military, economic, diplomatic and cultural influence.
Kagwanja noted that Kenya’s vibrant foreign policy has sustained its time-honored reputation as a peace broker in a troubled region while courting new allies to advance its economic interests.
“In the past, Kenya has enhanced its soft power capital through mediation in regional hot spots. Since 2013, the country has aggressively pursued economic diplomacy in different parts of the globe,” said Kagwanja.
He noted that economic diplomacy has not only enhanced bilateral trade with emerging powers like China but also attracted capital and technical skills.
Kenya has in the last one year hosted a number of foreign leaders and high level summits on trade and investments whose impact to the local economy is profound.
Kagwanja said the visits by foreign leaders coupled with major summits have elevated Kenya’s stature.
He noted that President Kenyatta’s forays abroad have expanded market access for Kenyan goods while attracting foreign direct investments in key sectors of the economy.