President Uhuru Kenyatta kicked off his official visit to France on Wednesday evening at Elysee Palace where he was received by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. Elysee Palace is the French president’s official residence.
Mr Kenyatta inspected a guard of honour mounted by the French military at the start of an elaborate State reception ceremony.
Together with his host, they witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements before leading their delegations to a State banquet hosted in honour of the visiting Kenyan leader.
Later, the two leaders held 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 Nairobi CBD to JKIA commuter rail link will help enhance movement of travellers between the city centre and Kenya’s foremost international airport.
“Our aspiration is to see that this commuter railway line eases traffic in Nairobi but also eases the movement of people within Nairobi. We hope that along the route and the surrounding areas, other businesses will be able to grow,” Kenyas Ambassador to France Prof Judy Wakhungu said.
The construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit six-lane dual carriage way is expected to de-congest the existing highway and enhance efficiency of cargo transport to Western Kenya and onwards into the export markets of East and Central Africa.
“We hope that extending this highway which is going to be about 200km, again, it will ease traffic on that particular very, very important route. I need not remind Kenyans that this is a major highway that connects Mombasa, Nairobi and all the way to Uganda, Rwanda and other parts of Central Africa,” Prof Wakhungu added.
Mr Kenyatta arrived in Paris on Tuesday evening.
He is expected today to deliver the keynote address at the BPI France Inno Generation 2020 business forum, the European country’s largest international innovation and entrepreneurship extravaganza which brings together hundreds of French companies to explore investment opportunities abroad.
Mr Kenyatta is expected to speak about investment opportunities in Africa and woo French companies to invest in Kenya.
On Friday, he will preside over the Kenya-France business forum organised by the French Business Confederation (Movement Des Entreprises De France (MEDEF).
The meeting will bring together investors from Kenya and France to discuss investment opportunities as well as explore avenues for increasing Kenyan exports into the lucrative French market.