President Uhuru Kenyatta is on Monday scheduled to host the President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, who will be in the country for a two-day official visit.
According to State House Press Office, the two leaders will explore areas of collaboration in the implementation of President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and universal healthcare.
“The visit by the Swiss President is intended to strengthen these close ties and identify other areas of cooperation particularly on the Big 4 agenda,” Press Secretary Manoah Esipisu stated in a dispatch on Wednesday.
Kenya is banking on Switzerland’s support in the medical sector to increase access to medication for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, respiratory illness and cardiovascular diseases.
“Stronger partnerships in the pharmaceutical sector has placed Kenya as a competitive hub for local and international drug manufacturers, drug suppliers and pharmacies. Norvatis (a Swiss healthcare company) is a key partner in the industry and in 2015 Kenya was the first country to launch its Norvatis Access Programme,” Esipisu noted.
Another Swiss pharmaceutical, Hoestch, is also partnering with the Ministry of Health in the provision and distribution of medicines and hospital consumables.
Bilateral talks between Kenyatta and Berset will also be focused on migration and regional security in the seven-member Inter-Governmental Development Authority (IGAD) bloc which is leading efforts to restore peace and stability in South Sudan.
“As a leader in humanitarian affairs the Swiss government continues to work closely with IGAD to contribute to a safe and economically sound region,” Esipisu pointed out.
President Kenyatta will also be seeking partnerships in the areas of livestock production and increased access to water in the Arid and Semi-Arid Land counties.
The Swiss government is already supporting programmes in ASAL counties through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
“Their support is complementing government efforts at enabling robust and sustainable pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods in the region,” the State House Spokesperson stated.
The SDC is also implementing a pilot project at the Kakuma refugee camp where 580 refugees and residents of Kakuma have received vocational training.
Under the project, refugees have been equipped with skills to enable them work to support their families with the end goal of integrating them into host communities.
Switzerland up scaled its diplomatic presence in Nairobi two years ago when it set up a new embassy building in Gigiri.