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Cooperazione Politica

 

Cooperazione Politica

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Relations between the two countries are rooted in solid foundations, since the indipendence of Kenya in 1963, and reflect the tradition of friendship and cooperation encompassing a broad array of sectors: from political dialogue to development assistance, to increasingly stronger trade flows.
The early Eighties witnessed a turning point in the bilateral relations, with the signing of the first Agreements in the sector of development assistance.

Italy is considered by Kenyan authorities a reliable partner for the traditional commitment of the Italian Government to the socio-economic growth of the Kenyan people and for its support to the consolidation of democratic local institutions.
On foreign policy, the strategic location and its tradition of political stability ensure that Kenya is a privileged partner for Italy in Eastern Africa. In the regional dimension Italy and Kenya have a record of close cooperation which reflects a shared vision on the issues related to the area, including security, regional integration and the establishment of fundamental rights. This cooperation is particularly significant within the IGAD Partners Forum, of which Italy holds the Co-Chair.
An additional significant asset in bilateral relations, under the scientific cooperation heading, is the presence in Kenya of the Italian Space Agency which manages, on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement, the Space Station for satellite tracking located in the Ras Ngomeni peninsula in the district of Malindi. The original project, named “San Marco”, dates back to 1964 when it was designed and started by the Italian Air Force engineer Luigi Broglio.
Another fundamental beacon of the relations between the two countries in the presence of a large and diversified community of Italian nationals, residing in both Nairobi and the Coast. Many Italian families have been in Kenya since generations, have developed important and reputable activities in the country and are represent valuable asset for the “Italian System”.



RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

In the framework of the EU cooperation Italy supports the committment of the Kenyan Government in the implementation of the institutional blueprint as laid out in the Constitution which entered into force on 28th August 2010. The main features of this reform process encompass a new system of political representation, a renewed arrangement of local Government, and a modernized judiciary and Police.
In close coordination with other partners in the Donor community, Italy has promoted a constant dialogue with the Kenyan Government on issues such as the strengthening of democratic institutions, the respect of human rights, security and the fight against crime.
Italy has been committed in recent years to contribute to the social and economic growth of Kenya and to its ambitious development programmes (Vision 2030), through the strengthening of trade flows, transfer of technology and industrial know-how, and traditional development projects concentrated particularly in rural areas of the Country in the fields of irrigation and health.



THE CURRENT POLITICAL-INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF KENYA

Kenya is a Presidential republic independent since December 1963. On 27th August 2010 a new Constitution was approved and replaced the former Charter which dates back to the declaration of independence. The elections in March 2013 marked the end of the transition to a full presidential system based on an arrangement that devolves greater power to local Governments, thus addressing the need to ensure appropriate representation to the complex tribal-ethnic composition of Kenyan society.
The President is elected by absolute majority at national level, plus a minimum of 25% vote in at least half of the 47 new Counties in which the Country is subdivided according to the Constitution. A new Upper House (Senate) was established with the aim to represent local Governments. It is composed by 47 members (one for each County), plus 16 members appointed by political parties based on their representation, 2 members of the youth and 2 of the disabled.
Another Constitutional innovation was land reform. In this regard a National independent lands commission was established, and was tasked with making an enquiry into the “historical injustices” in the distribution of State land. The Constitution further limits the size of private land plots and abolishes the unlimited freehold for foreigners, introducing the leasehold for 99 years (similarly to other common law Countries). This new legislation came into force in August 2013.
Other reforms introduced by the new Constitution include the transfer of powers and competences from the Central State to Counties, the establishment of a Bill of Rights, the formation of a High Court with the functions of judiciary body of last resort, and the of the Prime Minister.



 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

The new Government of Kenya, after assuming power, launched a determined campaign to overhaul the infrastructure of the country by the signing, among others, an agreement with a Chinese company for the development of a single-gauge railway to connect Mombasa with Nairobi, and from Nairobi to neighbouring countries, in order to ease the congestion on the road network.
The Government also faced the persistent terrorist threat following the attack at the Westgate mall in Nairobi and some remote areas at the border of Somalia remain volatile. At the same time the Government has appropriately put in place new controls on migration flows and measures to strengthen security particularly on the Coast. Insecurity has damaged the economy a great deal, and tourist numbers have however dropped dramatically, especially on the Coast. A joint recovery effort is being conducted by the Government and by tourist industry representatives, many of whom are Italian, aimed at attracting fresh tourist flows.
On foreign policy the relations with the International Community are gaining new momentum and are set to fully express their potential. Of particular significance in that context is the conclusion of an EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) with the EU which will boost trade flows and increase the attractiveness of Kenya as a hub for foreign direct investment in Eastern Africa.
Domestically the Government confirmed its ambitious goals in terms of growth rate, supported by sound macroeconomic fundamentals. The Executive also took significant steps to tackle corruption, which has marred some of the country’s high profile projects.

 

 



VISITS OF ITALIAN AUTHORITIES IN KENYA

A key feature of the political dialogue is a regular exchange of high-level visits. The most recent took place in April 2015 when the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, paid a visit to Nairobi to express solidarity in the wake of the horrific Garissa massacre. Previously, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of the African portfolio, Lapo Pistelli, was in Nairobi in August 2013.
With regard to previous Governments, the visits of the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Senator Alfredo Mantica (July 2011), of the Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Adolfo Urso (February 2010), and of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini (January 2010), are recalled.



VISITS BY KENYAN AUTHORITIES TO ITALY

The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi visited Italy in November 2014 and had meetings with the Speakers of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, and of the Senate, Grasso. Within the Kenyatta Government, several Cabinet Secretaries paid visits to Italy, including Ms. Phyllis Kandie, Mr. Felix Koskei and Mr Henry Rotich.
Previously the visits by the Minister for Agriculture Kosgei (November 2011), by the Deputy Speaker Hon. Farah Maalim (also in November 2011), by the Minister for Internal Security George Saitoti (September 2010) and by the then Prime Minister Raila Odinga (August 2009 on the occasion of the meeting in Rimini on the conflicts in Africa), are recalled.



AGREEMENTS IN FORCE BETWEEN ITALY AND KENYA

Agreements before independence, signed with Great Britain and which Kenya took over:

- Italo-British Agreement for reciprocal extradition of criminals (1873); - Italo-British Agreement for judicial assistance with regard to civil and commercial matters (1930);

Agreements after Independence:

- Exchange of Notes relating to the Confirmation of the Italo-British Agreement for Reciprocal Extradition (1967);
- Financial Cooperation Agreement (1983);
- Economic, Technical and Development Cooperation Agreement (1985);
- Agreement regarding the Satellite Launch and Control Base, San Marco, in Malindi, Kenya (1994);
- Agreement on the promotion and protection of investments with protocol (1996);
- Agreement on Debt Restructuring (Paris Club Meeting of the 15th of January 1996);
- Agreement in the Cultural Sector (October 2006); - Agreement for the conversion of debt deriving from aid credit (October 2006);
- Political Agreement for the San Marco Base in Malindi (October 2006);
- Bilateral Agreement for the Concession of Aid Credit (July 2010).




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