The money behind Obama’s Kenya visit

by Trust Matsilele 0

U.S president and son to a Kenyan national Barack Obama will jet into his father’s homeland later this week amid high expectations from his hosts.

Obama is set to co-chair the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, July 24 – 26, 2015 and is expected to rally support from governments and the private sector around the world to expand their investments of time, talent and treasure in nascent and scaling entrepreneurs.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will be privileged to host the most powerful man idolised world over, however, Obama’s visit comes at a huge cost both for the country’s fiscus and social conditions of people living in the capital Nairobi who will be relocated during Obama’s stay.

According to media reports, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre received Sh300 million ($3m) facelift ahead of Obama’s Kenya visit but this is nothing compared to what his country will fork for his trip. Obama’s visit is estimated to cost US taxpayers about Sh28.8 billion ($281 million).

The capital Nairobi was awarded $500 000 makeover ahead of Obama’s trip. According to reports, the city’s county government would use the funds to beautify the bustling capital city in preparation for the visit.

Obama’s visit has also brought some temporary relief for unemployed Kenyan youths.

“More than 500 National Youth Service members were hired to tidy up Nairobi, unclogging drains, clearing bushes, planting flowers and cutting grass on major roads and around government buildings,” reported the International Business Times. 

“The visit by President Obama is meant to hold bi-lateral talks with President Kenyatta and also co-chair the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit offers opportunities to exchange high level views between global business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Kenyatta’s spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said.

Esipisu added that the event will also help the country in its efforts to fight terrorism.

Leah Oyake, director of environment, Nairobi City County said it was important that Nairobi gives the right impressions to dignitaries expected to grace the global showpiece.

“Hosting the American president for the Nairobi country is a big thing, this could have contributed to the acceleration of the beautification of the city.”

Mwenda Mbijiwe, security and counter terrorism consultant said between now and the arrival of Obama, Kenyan security will be on high alert because anything that could happen now will get a lot of attention.