‘Kenya is My Sec­ond Home’

Diplomat East Africa - - Dna -

The Saudi Ara­bian am­bas­sador to Kenya GHORM SAID MAL­HAN, whose tour of duty is com­ing to an end, shares some in­sights with MO­HAMMED WARSAMA about his ex­pe­ri­ence in Nairobi and diplo­matic ca­reer

DIPLO­MAT EAST AFRICA: Your Ex­cel­lency, as your tour duty in Kenya comes to an end, please tells us about your ex­pe­ri­ence in Kenya.

H.E GHORM SAID MAL­HAN: My ex­pe­ri­ence in Kenya has been an ex­cel­lent one. My first visit to Kenya was in the early 80’s when I first vis­ited as a tourist while study­ing in univer­sity. From then on, I kept on com­ing to Kenya in 1985 on my way to coun­tries in the re­gion as I al­ways stopped over in Nairobi.

In 1989, I was posted as a Sec­ond Sec­re­tary to my Em­bassy here in Nairobi and I worked here for three years, prior to my post­ing to Bel­gium.

Be­tween 1997 and 2002 I kept on vis­it­ing Kenya to see friends.

As you can see from the above, this is the sec­ond time I have been ap­pointed to Kenya. I ar­rived here 0n March 2, 2010 this time as an Am­bas­sador Ex­tra­or­di­nary and Plenipo­ten­tiary, and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to UNON, UNEP and UN-HABI­TAT.

Q: What chal­lenges have you faced dur­ing your stay in Kenya?

A: No chal­lenges; I am very happy here to be among my friends - this is my sec­ond home and I have lots of friends in Kenya.

I ar­rived in Kenya dur­ing the era of Con­sti­tu­tion – ‘Kat­iba Era’ of the New Con­sti­tu­tion.

I wit­nessed the peace­ful elec­tions on March 4, 2013 and of course, the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the 4th Pres­i­dent of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Keny­atta.

I can see Kenya pro­gress­ing in many ways. Kenya has a bright fu­ture with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new Con­sti­tu­tion. It has given coun­ties more role to play in lo­cal de­vel­op­ment.

Q: Un­der your watch rela- tions be­tween the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia and Kenya have greatly im­proved. Please elab­o­rate.

A: I have seen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Saudi Ara­bia and Kenya grow from strength to strength and both the coun­tries en­joy warm cor­dial re­la­tions.

There have been ex­change vis­its by high level dig­ni­taries from both the sides. The for­mer Head of State, H.E Mwai Kibaki vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia in March 2007 when he at­tended the 19th Con­fer­ence of the Arab League Sum­mit Con­fer­ence in Riyadh, where he was ac­compa nied by First Lady Mama Lucy. There have been sev­eral vis­its by Kenyan Min­is­ters to Saudi Ara­bia.

Q: De­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance from the Saudi gov­ern­ment to Kenya has in­creased dur­ing your term. Kindly tells us about it.

A: In De­cem­ber 2010, we saw the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Don­dori Ol­ka­lau – Njabini Road almost 100 km long road, funded by the Saudi Fund for De­vel­op­ment to the tune of $10 mil­lion.

Saudi Ara­bia through Saudi Fund for De­vel­op­ment and co­funded by BADEA, OFID, Kuwait Fund and Abu Dhabi is as­sist­ing in the con­struc­tion of Nuno –Modogashe Road Project. This is 146 km long road cross­ing north­ern Kenya and tra­verses through rich pas­toral­ist land which pro­duces 65 per cent of Kenya’s live­stock. Saudi Ara­bia is fund­ing this project to the tune of Ksh 1.3 bil­lion.

Saudi Ara­bia is also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fi­nanc­ing of Ru­ral Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion Projects in five re­gions in Kenya to the tune of Ksh2 bil­lion.

Since it be­gan diplo­matic re­la­tions with Kenya 35 years ago, Saudi Ara­bia through the Saudi Fund for De­vel­op­ment has given Ksh11 bil­lion aid to Kenya.

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