49th "Jamhuri Day" Celebrated in Seoul
Envoy Urges for Strong Ties between Kenya, S. Korea
By Kim Ji-Yun
On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau hosted a reception at Lotte hotel in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2012.Over 200 high-profile guests including scores of top foreign envoys serving in Seoul were invited to the luncheon reception.A group of local Koreans and many Kenyans living in South Korea were also parts of the gathering.In his welcoming speech, Amb. Kitau declared that this year's "Jamhuri Day" has special significance.
|Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau (5th from right) poses with ambassadors of other countries at 49th "Jamhuri Day" event held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2012.|
The Kenyan envoy congratulated President-Elect Park Geun-Hye on her victory in the presidential election held on Dec. 19, 2012."I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her Excellency Park Geun-Hye, the president elect of the Republic of Korea," Amb. Kitau said."The Kenya government will continue close cooperation with the new administration to deepen our bilateral and multilateral relations," he said.Amb. Kitau stressed the importance of Jamhuri Day in his speech."Jamhuri Day is very important and meaningful in our national calendar as it marks the day when Kenya attained full indecency on Dec. 12, 1963," he said. "On this day, we remember the struggles and sacrifices made by our fore fathers to free our country"The envoy also mentioned Kenya’s development blueprint, "Vision 2030," which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of our people and creation of a globally competitive nation economically, socially and politically.
|Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau |
“As we celebrate Jamhuri Day, we also reflect on the achievement towards a united, peaceful, prosperous and truly independent state as envisaged by our founding heroes and heroines,” he said. “Their vision has formed the basis of Kenya’s development blueprint, "Vision 2030"”The Kenyan ambassador had a time to reflect on Kenya’s achievement as a nation.“Despite many local and global challenges, we have witnessed significant progress in our national development agenda,” he said. “The annual economic growth jumped from less than 1 percent in 2002 to 4.5 percent in 2011 and is expected to reach 5 percent by the close of 2012”
|Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau (center) poses with S. Korea former Science Minister Chung Kun-Mo at 49th "Jamhuri Day" event held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2012. At right is the envoy's spouse Ms. Monicah Wangari Ngovi.|
Amb. Ngovi Kitau pointed out that Kenya had great importance to the warm and friendly relations that exist with Korea.“The bilateral relations between Kenya and Korea have continued to grow form strength to strength across the board. Kenya and Korea have also developed deeper cooperation in areas such as trade, tourism, education, health, energy, agriculture, transport and knowledge sharing which has impacted the two countries positively,” he said.The 49th Jamhuri Day was celebrated elsewhere around the world.
|Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau (center) poses with members of KNA(Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation) at 49th "Jamhuri Day" event held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2012. |
In particular, South Korea's former Minister of Science and Technology Chung Kun-Mo attended the occasion and delivered a congratulatory speech to celebrate the 49th Jamhuri Day.What Is "Jamhuri Day?"This year of 2012 Kenya marked its 49th "Jamhuri Day," which is celebrated on Dec. 12 every year in many cities around the world as well as in Kenya."Jamhuri Day," or Kenya's Independence Day, is the most important national holiday in Kenya. "Jamhuri Day" marks the day, Dec. 12, 1963, when the African nation gained its independence from the UK.Jamhuri means "republic" in the Swahili language. "Jamhuri Day" is officially to mark the date of Kenya's establishment as a republic on Dec. 12, 1964.The day is marked by numerous cultural festivities which celebrate the country's cultural heritage.Kenya-South Korea RelationsThe mutual relations has been on the steady rise since Kenya and South Korea established diplomatic ties on Feb. 7, 1964.Recently Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited South Korea on Nov. 19-21, 2012.Particularly, Kenyan Premier Odinga met Korean Premier Kim Hwang-sik discussed infra structure including cooperation of development and economy, and exchange of culture.Trade and economic ties has been growing since Kenya signed Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement on August 4, 1977 with South Korea.In 2009 the bilateral trade volume reached 137,430,000 US dollars. South Korea exported US$132,996,000 worth's goods including chemical products, textile, machineries, and rubber.Seoul imported from Kenya US$4,434,000 worth's of goods including agricultural products and steel.South Korea offered to Kenya 3,210,000 US dollars in grand aid between 1990 and 2003.As of now over 700 South Koreans are living in Kenya.The following is the full text of Kenyan envoy's speech.Speech by H.E. Mr. Ngovi Kitau, Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Korea on the occasion of Jamhuri Day celebrations, 20th December 2012 at Lotte Hotel, Seoul.Your Excellency, Mr. Vitali Fen, dean of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Korean government, Excellencies and ambassadors, head of missions and members of diplomatic corps, fellow Kenyans, members of the private sector, ladies and gentlemen,First, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her Excellency Park Geun-Hye, the president elect of the Republic of Korea who emerged victorious during the just concluded presidential elections held on 19th December, 2012. The Kenya government will continue close cooperation with the new administration to deepen our bilateral and multilateral relations.ExcellenciesLadies and gentlemenI am deeply honoured to welcome you all to the celebrations of the 49th Jamhuri Day. Jamhuri Day is very important and meaningful in our national calendar as it marks the day when Kenya attained full indecency on 12th December, 1963. On this day, we remember the struggles and sacrifices made by our fore fathers to free our country.As we celebrate Jamhuri Day, we also reflect on the achievement towards a united, peaceful, prosperous and truly independent state as envisaged by our founding heroes and heroines. Their vision has formed the basis of Kenya’s development blueprint, "Vision 2030," which is aimed at improving the livelihoods of our people and creation of a globally competitive nation economically, socially and politically.Fellow Kenyans,The 49th anniversary of our independence provides an opportunity to reflect on our achievements as a nation. Despite many local and global challenges, we have witnessed significant progress in our national development agenda. The annual economic growth jumped from less than 1% in 2002 to 4.5% in 2011 and is expected to reach 5% by the close of 2012. This growth has boosted revenue collection from Kshs. 180 billion in 2002 to 700 billion shillings in 2012 enabling the government to fund most of its budget from local sources.The increased revenue collection has provided the government with the resources required to implement Kenya’s development plan. As a result, various sectors of our economy have recorded notable growth.For instance, the agricultural sector grew from negative 3% in 2002 to 6% in 2012. This was as a result of the government’s intervention is revival and rehabilitation of agricultural institutions and expansion of the area under irrigation. In addition, the government has also created new irrigation schemes such as Yala Swamp, Kibwezi and Turkana. To this end, we have witnessed an increase in employment opportunities for thousands of Kenyans and improvement of food security.Improvement of infrastructure and transportation network has been a key focus in the last ten years. The government has constructed, expanded and rehabilitated roads, revamped railway network and modernized airports. Cargo handling capacity at Mombasa port has been increased and work is in progress for construction of a new port at Lamu which is expected to serve as an economic corridor for Kenya and the neighbouring countries.In the information and communication technology sector, thirty million Kenyans are using mobile phones today as compared to less than one million in 2003. Similarly, internet users rose from two hundred and fifty thousand ten years ago to over fourteen million today. Kenya’s media outlets have also grown from a handful to 19 television and 81 radio stations over the last ten years. In addition, the government will soon commence the construction of Konza techno city in order to take the ICT(Information & Communication Technology) industry to the next level.In the energy sector, over two million households are now connected to electric power as compared to 600,000 homes in 2002. In the financial sector, 20 million Kenyans, including the small and medium enterprises have access to financial services today compared to less than one million ten years ago. Under education, the free and compulsory education program introduced in 2003 has provided ten million children access to education while the transition rate from primary to secondary schools has risen from 42% to 70% over the last ten years. The government has also made huge strides in other sectors such as health, security and water.These achievements in various sectors of our economy have laid a firm foundation of our economic, social and political transformation towards greater prosperity, equity and competitiveness as planned in our “Vision 2030.”Excellencies
|Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau (left) poses with his spouse Ms. Monicah Wangari Ngovi (right) and with S. Korean artist Lee Byong-Hun at 49th "Jamhuri Day" event held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2012.|
Ladies and gentlemenKenya will hold the first general election after promulgation of the new constitution on March 4, 2013. On its part, the government has made preparations for the next elections by enacting relevant bills related to this landmark occasion. Various reforms in the judiciary and other key institutions have also been put in place to ensure smooth and successful elections. Accessories for use during the elections such as biometric kits have also been procured. On the part of the electorate, Kenyans have turned out in large numbers for registration as voters and are ready to choose their next leaders.Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemenThe bilateral relations between Kenya and Korea have continued to grow form strength to strength across the board. In the past one year, there has been high level exchange visit and also a significant rise in official visits. Kenya and Korea have also developed deeper cooperation in areas such as trade, tourism, education, health, energy, agriculture, transport and knowledge sharing which has impacted the two countries positively. Some of the infrastructure projects in Kenya have been funded through the Korea’s economic development cooperation fund while a good number of education, health and water sector improvements have been supported by the Korea international cooperation agency.Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemenIn conclusion, I take this opportunity to wish you all happy Jamhuri Day celebrations, merry Christmas and happy New Year.Thank youThe following is the full text of South Korea's former Minister of Science and Technology Chung Kun-Mo's congratulatory remarks.Your Excellency, ambassador Ngovi Kitau, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,I am truly honored for this opportunity to give a few remarks during the 49th anniversary of the independence of the republic of Kenya. I have had the privileged of closely interacting with Kenyans at various levels as a member of the national economic and social council which is mandated with the implementation of “Vision 2030.” Please allow me to express my gratitude to the ambassador, who is also my good friend, for this wonderful moment.I wish to congratulate the leadership of the Kenya government, the ambassador and all the people of the republic of Kenya on this auspicious and meaningful occasion of Jamhuri Day. Looking back through history, it is evidently clear of how far you have come and I encourage you to stay on course.“Vision 2030” blueprint is a comprehensive and professional document that is aimed at guiding Kenya in the path of attaining prosperity. You have enumerated many advances that have been reached as part of the implementation of this plan. To this end, am very happy to have been part and parcel of this resounding success and am even more encouraged to continue working with the implementation committee.I note with pleasure the Kenya’s enthusiasm to attain middle class status in 22 years as compared to Korea’s economic development plan which spanned for 34 years from 1962. The ongoing projects in infrastructure, energy, education and technology, point to the feasibility of this goal. For instance, the lamu port is not only a transport corridor but also an economic corridor which will open northern Kenya and fast track regional integration efforts by linking Kenya to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. On energy, Kenya has vast deposits of fossil fuels, gas, geothermal and coal. Once these are fully harnessed, together with the other natural resources, will transform the country into an industrialized nation. The launch of Korean air direct flights from Incheon to Nairobi in June 2012 has provided a quick and convenient means of the business community to engage in trade and investment opportunities that exist in Kenya.Through KOICA, Korea exim bank and support of other development partners, Kenya is in the right track of developing skilled manpower to drive the required economic, social and political reforms. I am happy to mention the ongoing training of Kenya students at KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) on nuclear energy generation, transmission and safety as an outstanding example of human resource development efforts among many others.Promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution was a huge step towards full democratization of the country. I have no doubt therefore, that the forthcoming elections will be a huge success and wish you all the best.Finally, I once again congratulate your Excellency and the people of Kenya on this Jamhuri Day celebration and wish you all the grace of god, Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year.Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemenI now wish to propose a toast.To the continued cooperation of Kenya and Korea, prosperity and good heath to all.For details or inquiries contact the Kenyan Embassy in Seoul at 3785-2903.
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Kim Ji-Yoon serves as staff reporter for The Seoul Times. She studied at English Language & Literature Department of Sookmyung Women’s University. Kim covers diplomatic community and other cultural affairs. Her hobbies include listening to music.