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Cablegate: Kenya to Host 2009 Agoa Forum Between August 9-14

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #2594/01 3191004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141004Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7591
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3089
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 1686

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002594

STATE PASS USTR WILLIAM JACKSON, PATRICK DEAN COLEMAN, AND CONNIE
HAMILTON

STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/E, AND AF/EPS ANN BREITER AND GABRIELLE MALLORY

STATE ALSO FOR EEB/TPP/BTA AMY HOLMAN

STATE PLEASE PASS USAID/EA

TREASURY FOR REBECCA KLEIN

COMMERCE FOR KEVIN BOYD AND BECKY ERKUL

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT ECON ETRD AGOA PGOV KE
SUBJECT: KENYA TO HOST 2009 AGOA FORUM BETWEEN AUGUST 9-14

REFS: (A) STATE 114398 (B) NAIROBI 2224

1. This cable is not/not for internet distribution.

2. Please See Action Request - Para 15.

3. Summary. Kenya proposes hosting the 2009 AGOA Forum in
Nairobi, between August 9-14. The preferred venue is the
Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) in downtown
Nairobi. Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Trade Uhuru Kenyatta
has already established a national organizing committee, headed
by the Trade Ministry's Acting Chief Economist Richard Sindiga.
As part of an expansive November 11 preparatory meeting with
emboffs, Kenyatta and his senior staff requested that a US
Mission officer attend its weekly meetings. Emboffs, in fact,
attended the organizing committee's November 13 meeting where
it was made clear that US Embassy officers would also be part
of the subcommittees covering all aspects of the Forum's
organization, including security arrangements. Kenyatta said
he would also like to hold monthly meetings with the embassy's
point person for the 2009 AGOA Forum. Kenyatta asked that the
USG promote the participation of the American and African private
sectors to ensure that the forum is a success and not merely
another talk shop among African ministers. End Summary.

4. As instructed ref A, on November 11, Economic Counselor Eugene
Young and Management Counselor Michael Hoza met with Kenyan Deputy
Prime Minister-Minister of Trade Uhuru Kenyatta, Assistant Minister
of Trade Omino Magara, Acting Chief Economist Richard Sindiga, and
Senior Economist David Ngarama to inform the Government of Kenya
(GOK) that the United States welcomes and accepts Kenya's invitation
to host the 2009 AGOA Forum. D/PM Kenyatta thanked the USG,
acknowledged our October 29 diplomatic note indicating the United
States' acceptance of Kenya's offer to host was "very well
received," and said his government wants to work closely with
Washington and the US Mission in the lead up to the event. He told
emboffs that Kenya has already formed a national organizing
committee composed of stakeholders from government, the private
sector, and civil society. Headed by the Trade Ministry's Acting
Chief Economist Richard Sindiga, the national organizing committee
will hold weekly meetings. It has already formed various
sub-committees to deal with specific matters such as the forum's
theme and agenda, venue, accreditation, finance and procurement,
accommodations, transport, security, publicity, and
hospitality/protocol. Sub-committees for private sector and NGO
involvement have also been established.

5. Sindiga said the GOK would welcome the presence of an American
officer on the organizing committee to serve as a liaison. D/PM
Kenyatta furthermore recommended that embassy's point person for the
2009 AGOA Forum (ECON/C Young) to join him for monthly meetings to
take stock of ongoing preparations. Kenyatta revealed that he had
just signed a memorandum on the event, which is to be submitted to
the Cabinet for approval. It includes a request for funds. Once
the Cabinet approves the memorandum, a mere formality according to
Kenyatta, the GOK will make a public announcement that it will host
the 2009 AGOA Forum.

6. Emboffs complimented the Kenyans for moving quickly on forum
preparations. ECON/C Young emphasized that this will be the biggest
U.S.-Africa event in 2009. Young said there would likely be a USG
delegation numbering 150, including several Cabinet members. Should
the forum be held in August, when the US Congress is in recess,
several members of Congress might participate. He told Kenyatta
that the USG would prefer that the forum take place in late
July-early August. Kenyatta responded that the Kenyans initially
considered holding the forum in mid-July, but said the
American-suggested timeframe, perhaps the first week of August,
would be fine. Sindiga added that the additional time would be a
benefit and a later date - after the annual budget is presented to
Parliament on June 14 - would likely ensure that the FY10 budget
earmarks funding for the forum. By early August Parliament would be
in recess, thus allowing MPs to attend.

7. In an email subsequent to the meeting, Sindiga informed MGT/C
Hoza that Kenya proposes holding the 2009 AGOA Forum within the
August 9-14 window.

8. With respect to other logistical questions raised by emboffs,
notably dealing with security and venue, the Kenyans asked that
embassy officials liaise with the Sub-Committee on Security, chaired
by the Ministry of Internal Security and the Police Department.
Sindiga explained that the Trade Ministry would rely on the security
sub-committee and the police to handle all security matters related
to forum dignitaries and delegates.

9. The Kenyans said the venue would be the Kenyatta International
Convention Center (KICC) in downtown Nairobi, convenient to six
major hotels. Other venues, among them the Safari Park Hotel and
the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) compound, D/PM
Kenyatta averred, would involve more across-town transportation
hassles and preclude the possibility of holding a trade fair at the
same location as the conference. That events were not held at a
central location in Accra, he pointed out, was a difficulty at the
2007 AGOA Forum.

10. Kenyatta reiterated emphatically that Kenya is determined to
make the 2009 affair a tremendous success - one which serves to take
full advantage of the AGOA trade regime by bringing American and
African buyers and sellers together. Kenyatta emphasized that the
annual gathering should be much more than yet another talkfest among
African and American government ministers and their staffs. In his
opinion, the forum can only be judged a success if there is broad
private sector participation. He urged the US Embassy to spread the
word about the 2009 AGOA Forum to sister embassies in Africa and to
encourage American and African businesses to send representatives
and set up trade fair booths. "It has to be the most successful
AGOA Forum ever held!" Kenyatta exclaimed.

11. As a way of recruiting broad business participation, ECON/C
Young and MGT/C Hoza suggested to the Kenyans that they consider
waiving various customs, duties, and storage charges on goods,
wares, and equipment to be displayed at the trade fair. Kenya
Customs must also be prepared to help expedite clearances so these
products arrive on time. They underscored that streamlining the
process for all participants in the trade fair - not just Americans
- would help ensure that it is indeed a success. (Comment: we were
pleasantly surprised when Sindiga raised this matter at the November
13 organizing committee meeting, saying that Ministry of Trade
officials must approach the Finance Ministry, Kenya Revenue
Authority, and Customs Service to make sure that duty waivers are
secured well ahead of the forum. End Comment.)

12. At the November 13 national organizing committee meeting, the
Kenyans estimated the forum would attract 700 delegates from 43
countries. They are anticipating each country will send at least
three ministers. Sindiga, half in jest, recommended that the
sub-committees make contingency plans in case several heads of state
take part, which he predicted would happen "if our son of Kenya, the
next President of the United States attends." Early budget figures
were laid out: the GOK expects the forum will cost a minimum $1M,
with half that amount covering conference expenses. Sindiga
announced that his Ministry of Trade colleagues are working on a
proposed theme and agenda, which they intend to circulate to the
resident African embassies and the US Mission within the next week.
Sindiga and the sub-committee heads, notably the one in charge of
security, heartily accepted emboffs' request that US Mission
officers be named to several of the organizing sub-committees.

13. Per ref A request, Embassy Nairobi will submit an estimate of
USG resources required to ensure a successful 2009 AGOA Forum once
our MGT and GSO staffs have an opportunity to sit in on
sub-committee meetings dealing with accreditation, accommodation,
transportation, and other logistical matters.

14. Contact information for the chief Kenyan POC, Richard Sindiga,
is as follows:

Richard Sindiga
Acting Chief Economist
Ministry of Trade
P.O. Box 30430-00100
G.P.O. Nairobi
Tel.: (254) 20-314-001/5
Fax: (254) 20-248-495
email:rsindiga@trade.go.ke

15. Comment and Action Request: The GOK has enthusiastically
embraced the 2009 AGOA Forum. Their preparation to date is
encouraging as is their willingness to engage with us from the
start. We look forward to early interaction with the Inter-Agency
Working Group in Washington, perhaps via DVC to kick off our work.
Action Request: Please confirm Washington's acceptance of the
August 9-14 timeframe as soon as possible.

Ranneberger

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