22 Jul, 2015
NAIROBI, July 18 (NNN-KBC) — Kenya will play host to thousands of investors and business leaders here next week when the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which has been billed as the biggest meeting of business minds in Africa, is officially opened by United States President Barack Obama.
The July 25-26 summit will test Kenya’s capacity to host major conferences and it will be followed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting slated for October which is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants.
The last time Kenya hosted a major global event was in the year 2009, when thousands of investors and leaders, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were in Nairobi for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act conference. That meeting presented a major security and logistical nightmare for planners.
This month, Kenyan authorities will be put to test again as it hosts the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which was announced by the White House on March 30 this year. This will be the first such summit to be held in sub-Saharan Africa which President Obama is expected to attend.
According to Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KNCCI) Chairman Kiprono Kittony, the meeting is expected to test the capacity of Nairobi to host major meetings ahead of the WTO Summit to be held in Nairobi in October.
The 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit is expected to offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with one another, gain expert insights and secure funding for their businesses. Previous hosts were the United States, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Morocco.
The US president has only attended the event twice, the Washington and Malaysian meetings.
Kenyan Industrialization Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Adan Mohammed says the summit would boost Kenya’s image on the international front and give the country a major feel good effect.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit gathers entrepreneurs from across the world helping them network with international organizations, governments and business leaders.
This would also be Obama’s fourth visit to Africa during his two-term presidency, but the first time a sitting US president will be visiting Kenya.
According to US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit would help bolster trade ties between Kenya and the US.
Entrepreneurs are also hoping that the meeting would give them an opportunity to touch base with investors from around the world.
The Obama Administration plans to give 50 billion shillings (about 488 million US dollars) in aid to Kenya this year to strengthen governance and devolution.
Kittony says the summit is expected to chart a new path for relations between the two economies. The meeting also presents Kenya with a perfect opportunity to woo more American business people and tourists.
The meeting will also give Kenya a platform to push for direct flights between Nairobi and Washington which will boost tourist arrivals from America.
President Obama is expected to make major economic and political announcements during his visit in Kenya.
Apart from meeting with the President Uhuru Kenyatta, he is also expected to meet with members of the National Assembly, political leaders and civil rights activists.
In view of security concerns, it is not clear for how many hours or days President Obama would be in Kenya, but analysts agree that his visit will reverberate for many years to come, leaving a lasting impact on Kenya. — NNN-KBC