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Food Safety and Quality Standards

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government is committed to the development of the country’s food safety and quality standards to safeguard the health of consumers.

He said the Government is adopting scientific and innovative food safety management systems to not only protect consumers but also ensure fair trade practices in the production of food.

Dr Ruto said the relevant Government agencies are working together to ensure food safety throughout the various stages in food production.

He said: “The ratification of food fortification by the Kenya Food Fortification Agency in our country, is a milestone in the standardization of nutritional content improvement of processed food.”

DP Addressing stakeholders during the official opening of the 23rd Session of the FAO WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa

He added: “Similar to this is the establishment of the Kenya National Food Safety Coordination Committee, which takes a multi-agency approach to safety along the entire food value chain, ensuring farm-to-fork integrity in food production.”

The Deputy President made the remarks while officially opening the 23rd Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Coordinating Committee for Africa held at a Nairobi hotel.

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a joint food standards program of the FAO and WHO, which has six regional coordinating committees including the Africa Region Codex Coordinating Committee (CCAFRICA), runs the session.

The five days event brings together over 300 delegates from 49 African Region Codex members and members from the rest of the world.

Dr Ruto said investment in food management safety through regulations, laboratories, surveillance and monitoring will ensure the consumer’s health is not threatened by unsafe food.

The Deputy President called for increased funding towards food safety management systems arguing that the food value and supply chains are complex hence pose a challenge to the safety of food we consume.

He said: “The Codex Alimentarius Commission deserves our support.  Sustainable funding through FAO and WHO is indispensable.”

The Deputy President challenged the Africa’s food scientists to spearhead Codex’s ambitious food safety agenda for the continent.

He also challenged the African Union (AU) to join the league of dependable donors by allocating more resources to food safety management initiatives noting financial constrains has resulted to lack of scientific data of Africa’s food safety.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the session was a good forum for the various stakeholders in the food production chain to come up with suitable food safety polices.

Mr Kiunjuri said: “It is my expectation that these distinguished delegates will take advantage of the wealth of knowledge brought together at this session to come up with practical solutions to enhance consumer confidence in the food that is traded across Africa and the world.”

Kenya’s WHO representative Rudi Eggers said food safety has over the years gained importance due to its health and economic significance.

Constitutional Review

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Constitutional review should be a win-win for Kenyans and not a tool to divide the country.

He asked Kenyans to ignore leaders who want to take advantage of calls for a referendum to amend the Constitution as a route to create division, hatred and confusion in the country. 

He said matters pertaining to the Constitution were weighty, and required the input of all Kenyans.

Speaking during a development tour of Uasin-Gishu and Nandi Counties on Tuesday, the Deputy President said there was a need for a sober debate on issues pertaining to change of the Constitution.

“We want to ensure that as nation, whatever it is going to be proposed, in any format, does not create losers or winners. Kenyans must speak to each other without necessarily creating camps,” said Dr Ruto.

And while addressing wananchi outside Kapsabet Referral Hospital after launching a CT Scan, Dr Ruto said Jubilee would not allow some individuals to use the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to divide Kenyans so as to achieve their selfish ends.

“Some leaders should stop blackmail and threats. We will not give you the opportunity to divide the country,” he said.

He added: “When BBI puts across their proposals, we will engage in a sober debate. We will not accept the spirit of tsunami that divides this country again,” said Dr Ruto.

He noted that Kenyans had engaged before in the change of the Constitution, explaining that efforts must be made so as not to put communities on a collision path during the exercise.

Present were Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin-Gishu) and Stephen Sang (Nandi).

Others were MPs William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Caleb Kositany (Soy), Michael Mwangi (Ol Jororok), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Cornelly Serem (Aldai).

At the same time, the Deputy President said the Government was enlisting the help of the private sector in achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Speaking during the official opening of the Living Room International Hospital in Eldoret, Uasin-Gishu County, Dr Ruto said the Ministry of Health should work on a mechanism where the private sector invests in health facilities across the country.

“The ministry of Health must make it efficient for the private sector to be brought on board in ensuring success of the universal health coverage,” said Dr Ruto.

The MPs said they would back calls for a referendum to change the Constitution if it aims at easing the burden on Kenyans.

"There is no politics in Nandi County; today, we are here to lay the foundation for Kobujoi Hospital geared towards the fulfillment of Universal Healthcare,” said Governor Sang.

If we can all focus on development initiatives, he added, we will prosper as a country.

The Governor said they would continue supporting the Deputy President because of his development track-record. 

Governor Mandago said NHIF had greatly transformed the lives of Kenyans, saying they could now afford their medical needs.

On his part, Mr Serem said Jubilee was on course in the implementation of its development agenda for Kenyans.

“Let us focus on the implementation of the Jubilee manifesto, the referendum debate will come later,” said Mr Serem.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Mwangi who observed that Kenyans should not accept to be divided by politicians.

The Deputy President also spoke in Kobujoi in Nandi County where he laid a foundation stone for the construction of Kobujoi Hospital Complex, which aims at bringing medical services closer to the people.

The future of Africa lies in the youth

Deputy President William Ruto has said the future of Africa lies in the youth being put at the centre of its development plans.

He said gone were days when this energetic and innovative age class would be seen as future leaders.

Addressing the Shape Africa Summit at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri on Friday, Dr Ruto said the youth are the experts of the fourth industrial revolution.

“They must, therefore, be at the fore-front of shaping the Africa we want,” he said.

During the official opening of the World Economic Forum 2019 Shape Africa Summit

He told the Summit the revolution provided the first opportunity to re-order the world and extend the reach of justice, inclusion, growth and prosperity to all of humanity.

Dr Ruto explained that Africa's youth had become a demographic dividend, turning into the frontiers of unprecedented growth and promise.

He challenged the continent to assemble the cohort of visionaries who will light the spark that will produce an explosion of innovation and transformation to hasten Africa's race to 2063.

To ensure that the youth drive Kenya’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030, the Deputy President said the government had unveiled a new, competency-based curriculum that aims to address the mismatch between courses taught in class and the market skills.

“The curriculum, in addition to investments in technical and vocational training, will enable young people to re-skill and up-skill as the nature of work evolves,” he noted.

Dr Ruto said the government’s deliberate investment in technical training would turn them into the centre of excellence for growing the requisite human capital that is agile and responsive to systemic shifts in the industry.

“This is also due to the appreciation to the fact that young people will make up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020 and 75 per cent by 2025 globally,” he observed.

United Nation’s Environment Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya said young people are the symbol of innovation, and as such, should be at the core of the development narrative.

“We cannot attain the global sustainable goals without the energy of the youth,” she said.

Ms Msuya called on Africa to offer a platform to young people so that they can be part of the solution to the problems facing the continent.

United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Siddharth Chatterjee asked leaders to endeavour creating a level playing field for the youth to thrive.

“We cannot make these youths flourish, and become more innovative if inequalities still exist in the society. Let us direct our energies towards making the environment conducive for businesses youth pursue grow,” he said.

Born out of the World Economic Forum, Shape Africa is an annual forum that discusses solutions to some of the continent’s pressing issues.

Deputy President William Ruto on Research

Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government would intensify its support for research through increased funding.

He noted that the move would boost quality of information, thereby informing proper planning.

Speaking on Tuesday in Kasarani, Nairobi County, during the Third RCMRD International Conference, Dr Ruto said the lack of right information and the use of stale information continued to haunt the turnaround of Africa.

During the 3rd Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Regional Development2

“Proper planning is a function of quality and accurate information; information that is well researched, backed by knowledge and evidence,” Dr Ruto told the participants.
By the continent having the correct and up-to-date information, the Deputy President said Africa would easily make sound decisions.

He said the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area would be of no benefit to the people unless quality information is made available. 

“Africa’s contribution to the total world trade is still marginal; a paltry three per cent. Yet for this continent, world trade plays a major role,” he said.

With the small trade number, Dr Ruto explained that leaders “must deliberate, using valid information, the kind of interventions to be pursued” to amplify commerce in Africa.
He challenged scientists to “step in with the right prescriptions” that would propel the continent forward.

“We should not lose time. Neither should we make wrong decisions,” Dr Ruto insisted, adding that scientists need to partner with the government and public institutions in producing accurate data that can guide the development of Africa. 

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney argued that science and innovation should be at the centre of tackling challenges facing Africa.

The CS noted that technology was a crucial ingredient in the attainment of the sustainable development goals.

“Crucially, it is research-backed data that would drive the Big Four agenda in Kenya,” she said.

Chinese Breaking Laws

Chinese nationals in Kenya have been warned of tough punishment if they fail to respect the laws of the country.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng said China was concerned by cases of their citizens’ failure to regulate their behaviour.

He said those found flouting the laws of the land would not only be punished by Kenya but also will face “our own internal measures as China”.

He spoke on Thursday when he met Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen Office in Nairobi.

“Our citizens must respect the rule of law in Kenya. They should do the right thing and get permits and licenses where necessary,” he said.

As an ambassador, Mr Peng explained, he would want to make Kenya-China relations flourish.

Deputy President William Ruto during talks with Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng

“If Kenyans have concerns about the Chinese, let us know; we must follow the order of the locals,” he argued, adding that Chinese should not do the work that can be done by Kenyans.

He said China would not let a few people to cause trouble that may ultimately ruin the cordial relationship.

Lauding the Kenya-China friendship, Dr Ruto said the two countries should inevitably work towards forging a win-win partnership.

The Deputy President said he did not expect the Chinese to engage in activities, such as small businesses, that most Kenyans draw their livelihoods from.

“Kenya is run by the rule of law. We, therefore, expect the Chinese to adhere to them, and where there is lack of clarity, seek guidance from authorities,” added Dr Ruto.

He said China and Kenya share a common development and transformation vision, which is anchored on the Strategic Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership agreement that was signed in 2016.

“This agreement has yielded positive results and has seen high level exchanges between the two countries and cooperation in infrastructure, manpower development, research, ICT, among others,” he added.

The Deputy President asked the business community in Kenya to diversify their trade so as to bridge the negative balance of trade with China.

“Our focus is to enhance market access to China and more foreign direct investments from China to balance the trade,” he noted.

In 2017, the total trade volume between Kenya and China was Sh401 billion. Kenya’s exports to China were valued at Sh10 billion, representing 2.4 per cent while the remainder were Chinese exports to Kenya.

“It is important that the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Protocols on the 13 remaining products and memorandum of understanding on trade facilitation are implemented to correct the trade imbalance,” said Dr Ruto.