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Why State seeks to restore degraded landscapes, ecosystem

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya (centre) joined by Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire (second left) during a tree planting exercise in the county.

Government calls for participation of all individuals and institutions in the 10-year environment restoration strategy. The government targets to rehabilitate all the country’s degraded landscapes and ecosystems as it implements the 10-year National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, whose anchor initiative is the 15 billion tree planting initiative. The strategy has five key objectives, which include to increase national tree cover by 17.8 per cent by 2032 through targeted interventions on public, community and private lands; improving landscape and ecosystem governance through robust policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks; encouraging private sector investment and develop sustainable financing mechanisms for the restoration of degraded landscapes and strengthening capacity, research, monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management.

Ms. Soipan Tuya, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, said the strategy aims to enhance the ecological integrity of the country while contributing to social and economic transformation.

“Our approach is inclusive, calling for the participation of all Kenyans — from individuals to institutions, public and private sectors, urban and rural areas, and from the young to the old in what we term as the ‘whole-of-society, whole-of government’ approach,” she said as Kenya joined the globe in celebrating World Environment Day on June 5, 2024, whose theme was “Land Restoration desertification and drought resilience”.

Land degradation has manifested in many ways in the country, including through loss of vegetation, increased aridity, scarcity of water sources, growing of shrubs in areas which were predominantly rich in pastures, gullies, thin and stony soils and invasion of intrusive species that lead to food and water insecurity, according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The key drivers of land degradation are “deforestation, overgrazing, poor agricultural activities (overuse of fertilizers, up downhill ploughing), forest fires, poor spatial planning, mining and sand harvesting.” Ms. Tuya noted that Kenya has no choice but to restore the degraded landscapes and ecosystems as the country becomes most vulnerable to climate change. “We are vulnerable to climate change since the key drivers of our economy – agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry and fisheries, are climate-sensitive. Hence climate change continues to adversely impact Kenya’s socio-economic sectors,” she said. According to her, land restoration holds the key to reversing this tide, as every investment in restoration yields significant returns in terms of improved ecosystem services.

“We believe land restoration involves more than just tree growing; it requires a holistic approach that integrates sustainable land use practices, community engagement and robust policy interventions. In this regard, we recently successfully reviewed the Climate Change Act to mainstream carbon markets as an important climate finance opportunity for Kenya,” she said.

In the ongoing ecosystems restoration campaign, led by Cabinet Secretaries and senior members of the Executive, all MDAs have been allocated sites for tree planting and given targets to achieve. “The new approach, as unveiled by President William Ruto, aims to ensure the full restoration of assigned ecosystems. This involves not only tree planting but also nurturing the young trees and protecting them through fencing to facilitate natural regeneration of the sites,” said Ms. Tuya

Machogu asks universities to collaborate for better service delivery

Education Cabinet Secretary, Mr Ezekiel Machogu (centre), accompanied by the Principal Secretary State Department for Higher Education and Research, Dr Beatrice Inyangala (third from right) and Commission for University Education Chairman Prof Chaacha Nyaigotti-Chacha (second left), samples various innovations during the ongoing 4th Biennial Conference organised by the Commission.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has called for enhanced collaboration among universities to boost service delivery.

Speaking at the opening session of the 4th Biennial Conference on Universities Research and Innovation organized by the Commission for University Education (CUE), Mr Machogu urged the institutions to work together to enhance the quality of education noting, “universities must work towards ensuring delivery of their core mandate.”

At the conference, Kenyan universities are benchmarking against international best practices to identify areas for improvement and inform future education reforms, aligning with the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda. The conference provides an opportunity to disseminate, access, and discuss various research findings, inspiring the next generation of researchers and innovators.

Dr Beatrice Inyangala, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Higher Education and Research, expressed her confidence in the institutions, saying, “Our universities are a beehive of knowledge and talent and indeed research and innovation will prosper.”

Similarly, Prof Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, CUE Board Chairman, said the conference was in line with the Commission’s mandate to promote university education, monitor, regulate, accredit universities and programmes, and inspect the quality of education among other functions.

Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board (KYEB), your trusted partner in capturing compelling narratives, is committed to documenting the unversity education story at the conference. For more on the conference, read KYEB’s InfoByte here https://kenyayearbook.co.ke/category/infobytes/english/#flipbook-df_2082/3/

Kenya Yearbook Rhino Charge

Kenya Yearbook lauded for supporting conservation efforts

Kenya Yearbook Rhino Charge
Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya (left), Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku (second right), Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board Head of Production Elijah Muli (third right) and Christian Lambrechts, the Executive Director of Rhino Ark, at the Rhino Charge prize giving event in Kajiado.

The Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board (KYEB) will support efforts to mitigate climate change and protect the environment.

Mr Elijah Muli, KYEB Production Manager, representing CEO Lilian Kimeto at the Rhino Charge prizegiving ceremony in Kajiado County, said the institution would document Kenya’s conservation story and work with conservationists like Rhino Ark to protect the environment.

“This is the first time we are taking part in Rhino Charge. Going forward, we will walk with you in this journey to boost conservation efforts,”said Muli. He added that KYEB is committed to telling the story of the country, especially on environmental conservation, as the effects of climate change escalate.

During the event, Christian Lambrechts, the Executive Director of Rhino Ark, recognised KYEB as one of the partners of Rhino Charge. “KYEB is here to document and echo efforts made by Chargers to protect the environment and wildlife. KYEB has highlighted our fundraising efforts,” he said. Mr Lambrechts welcomed the support from KYEB and added that Rhino Charge is looking forward to partnering with several other institutions to boost conservation efforts. KYEB, the government’s storyteller, was at the event to document efforts to conserve the environment and protect wildlife, particularly the black rhinos.

Kenya Yearbook Rhino Charge
Mr Elijah Muli awards a winner at the RHino Charge prize giving event.

Sh325m boost from Rhino Charge for Kenya’s conservation efforts

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya (second left) and Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku (third right) among other officials hand to representatives of the Torosei community money raised for them through Rhino Charge.

The money raised through Rhino Charge event will go towards fencing several game parks and forests. The government’s efforts to conserve the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change received a boost as conservationists raised Sh325 million in the 2024 Rhino Charge. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Soipan Tuya, who presided over the prize giving ceremony of the event, said it represents diverse actions towards environmental conservation and climate mitigation.

“Climate change is hurting wildlife and the environment. We must come together to mitigate climate change and protect our ecosystems,” she said. She noted that the government has prioritized the protection of all ecosystems across the country. “We will keep on fencing the ecosystems, but we must also protect the environment and the wildlife within them,” she said.

Ms. Tuya mentioned that the government is committed to planting 15 billion trees by 2023. “We have moved from planting trees in ceremonies to nurturing them. Each Cabinet Secretary now has areas in two counties where they must plant and nurture trees,” she said. The initial goal of Rhino Charge was to protect the black rhino, a highly endangered animal targeted by poachers.Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku said the Torosei community was happy to host the event. Some Sh8 million was raised for the community by the event, and Ms. Tuya announced a Sh2 million donation from President William Ruto, making a total of Sh10 million.

Mr Adil Khawaja (left), Safaricom chairman, is recognised for being the top fundraiser, having raised Sh175 million. With him on the podium are Christian Lambrechts, the Executive Director of Rhino Ark (center) and the Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya.

The community proposed the funds be used to build Torosei Secondary School, which has 300 pupils. “The future of wildlife conservation is to involve the community. I want to assure the Chargers that their contribution will support conservation. We are happy to work with you to create a sustainable environment,” he said. Mr. Alex Lemarkoko, the Kenya Forest Service chief conservator, said the event fosters the conservation of our natural ecosystems. “Eburu Forest was seriously degraded, but now 40 percent is fully renovated. We will continue working together with Rhino Charge to ensure that we protect our environment,” he said.

Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Erustus Kanga said proceeds from the Rhino Charge have been used to protect Aberdare, Mt Kenya, Eburu Mau, and Kakamega forests. A key action across these ecosystems has been the construction of game-proof electric fences to protect forest adjacent communities from the threats of human-wildlife conflict. These actions have assisted in conserving and managing wildlife-protected areas in the water towers. This is at the core of the country’s environmental conservation agenda, including the government action plan to tackle climate change.

“The ecosystems are now fenced and well protected for the benefit of the wildlife and environment,” he said. Christian Lambrechts, the Executive Director of Rhino Ark, said Rhino Charge is committed to protecting the environment and wildlife.

Kenya Yearbook Rhino Charge
Mr Elijah Muli awards a winner at the RHino Charge prize giving event.

He noted that the Sh325 million raised surpassed all previous years and would be used for the intended purpose. Since 1989, Sh2.1 billion has been raised towards conservation efforts. KYEB is mandated to tell the government’s story and document other initiatives that help to promote national development. The institution was at the event to highlight efforts to conserve the environment, protect wildlife, and mitigate climate change.

State’s agenda to transform agriculture

President William Ruto at Masinde Muliro Stadium in Bungoma during Madaraka Day celebrations.

The commissioning by President William Ruto of over 7,000 extension officers to help farmers boost food security tops key initiatives announced during the 61st Madaraka Day celebrations to transform Kenya’s agricultural sector. The 7,000 agribusiness experts will encourage farmers to adopt improved methods of farming. President Ruto, who led the festivities themed “Agriculture and Food Security,” at Masinde Muliro Stadium in Bungoma County, said the experts would work with farmers to boost production across the country. They will also be supported with the necessary digital tools for efficiency and are now the frontline of government efforts to mobilize farmers. They will serve in all 47 counties in three categories: general practitioners, animal health and genetics, and fodder.

The Officers will help farmers access financial services, make loan applications, and connecting them to providers of farm and mechanization services. They will link farmers to markets, offer financial literacy and advise them on climate smart practices and mechanization. President Ruto noted that his government is keen on boosting agricultural production and food security.

“Agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy, directly contributing 25 per cent to the gross domestic product and supports other economic pillars such as manufacturing. It boosts the GDP by a further 27 per cent as it employs 40 per cent of the population,” said the President.

During the event, he announced that the government will write off several debts, provide input subsidies, increase the use of irrigation, and enhance climate mitigation efforts. “The government will write off Sh110 billion accumulated debts for sugar factories in the last 40 years. There will also be a new leasing model that will guarantee prompt payment for cane deliveries by farmers, timely wages for factory workers and bonuses to sugar cane farmers every end of the year, like other crops,” President Ruto said.

Writing off the debt is expected to boost the sugar sector, especially in Western Kenya, which has been saddled with mounting debt. The President further announced that the government would invest Sh2 billion into sugarcane development through state-owned mills. “I am proud to announce that the government has approved the first tranche of Sh600 million for seed cane development, and the National Treasury shall shortly release these funds,” he said.

The government also wrote off Sh6.9 billion debt owed by coffee cooperatives, assuring farmers of good returns this year. “Measures are underway to boost coffee productivity from 2kg to 10kg per tree and from 50,000 metric tonnes to 102,000 metric tonnes a year by 2027. Under the coffee sector reforms that we initiated, a Sh4 billion coffee cherry fund was established, Sh2 billions of which has been paid, with the balance allocated for payment in the 2024/2025 financial year,” he said.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi during pre-Madaraka Day Agro-Exhibition in the county

The government’s efforts to revive the coffee sector are paying off, with the area under coffee growing to 111,900 hectares in 2023, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Total production rose from 34,500 tonnes in 2021 to 48,700 tonnes in 2023. Yields increased from 2,527.5 kg/ha to 2,827.6 kg/ha during the same period.

President Ruto lauded the crucial role small-scale farmers play in food production, describing them as the backbone of Kenya’s agriculture. He said the government has entered strategic partnerships with various value chain actors, including input suppliers, producers, and processors, to support farmers and ensure food security. These partnerships are in key value chains such as maize, livestock, tea, coffee, edible oils, cashew nuts, pyrethrum, flowers, avocado, and macadamia nuts. To promote edible oil production, he said the government distributed 70 tonnes of sunflower seeds, with more allocations scheduled for the next financial year.

This is part of the National Edible Oils Promotion Project, which aims to strengthen the edible oils value chain. The President outlined ambitious plans to expand cotton farming, targeting an increase in production from 2,500 bales in 2022 to 107,000 bales by 2025. He said modernizing ginneries and providing subsidized fertilizer and improved seeds are broader components of the strategy aimed at supporting farmers and boosting productivity in the cotton industry.

Wanainchi at the Madaraka Day celebrations.

Acknowledging the impact of climate change on agriculture, President Ruto reaffirmed the government’s commitment to climate mitigation through afforestation, landscape restoration, and the promotion of climate smart technologies. Significant investments are also being made in the livestock sector to improve productivity and disease control, including the production of 35 million doses of assorted vaccines by the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute. To boost exports, he said the government had secured quota-free and duty-free access to international markets, including a new Economic Partnership Agreement with the 27-member European Union.

“I also wish to report that during my recent visit to the US, we negotiated the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, an instrument which has enhanced access to the US market for African exports, and catalyzed the rapid growth of Kenyan exports, especially in the textile and apparel industry,” he said.

During the event, President Ruto also reflected on the long journey Kenya has travelled since gaining self-governance, highlighting the country’s evolution into a strong, united state with a diverse economy.

Kenya’s global profile soars after Ruto’s US visit

Kenya’s global profile soars after Ruto’s US visit, President William Ruto (Right) and his host US President Joe Biden (Left). The visit highlights the country as an important investment destination, its crucial role in regional security and stability and fast-rising status as a digital hub

President William Ruto’s historic State Visit to the US last week has elevated Kenya’s international standing, marking a significant moment for the country’s diplomatic relations. The visit highlighted Kenya as an important investment destination, its crucial role in regional security and stability and fast-rising status as a digital hub in the continent.

Kenya without doubt won big during the visit after bagging various multibillion shillings deals that span across various sectors, including healthcare, education, road and transport, digital technology, security, agriculture and climate mitigation. The impact of the deals would certainly transcend beyond the borders, spreading the country’s influence.

“We are stronger – and the world is safer – when Kenya and the United States work together,” US President Joe Biden said. Kenya, said President Biden, would be designated as a key non-NATO ally, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have the symbolic title.

Kenya emerges as a key US ally in sub-Saharan Africa as two countries deepen 60-year ties. The visit highlights the country as an important investment destination, its crucial role in regional security and stability and fast-rising status as a digital hub

The designation reflects Kenya’s role in regional security, especially in counter terrorism operations and raises its standing from a regional player to a global partner. As a non-NATO ally, Kenya joins other countries with the title namely Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia. Kenya will further receive multiple security equipment including helicopters and Armored Security Vehicles from the US to strengthen the country’s security operations, including the fight against terrorism especially in Somalia where the nation has 5,000 troops.

President Ruto’s State Visit further kickstarts a new era of technology cooperation with the US, including in areas such as AI, semi-conductor making, cybersecurity, data and internet access. During the tour, Kenya signed with Microsoft and its partner G42 a deal worth Sh132 billion ($1 billion) to implement various tech infrastructure projects revolving around AI and data in a project dubbed the Comprehensive Digital Ecosystem Initiative. This is the largest single private-sector digital investment in Kenya and would accelerate digital investments in the country. One of the deliverables under the project is the building of a state-of-the-art green data Centre in Olkaria, Naivasha, which will run entirely on renewable geothermal energy, supporting Kenya’s green energy agenda.

President William Ruto (Left) and his host US President Joe Biden (right) at the White House.

Through the Centre, Kenya is expected to benefit from cloud data opportunities and business since Microsoft and G42 will work with the ICT Ministry to design and operate the new East Africa Cloud Region as part of a “trusted data zone” based on global standards to protect digital safety, privacy and security. “With technical assistance and support from G42 and Microsoft, Kenya will establish the new data Centre as part of a “trusted data zone” under which data from other countries may be governed by their local laws, even while stored and resident in Kenya,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Kenya, which has been pushing for a more connected Africa, received a boost through its partnership with Google, which announced the first ever fibre optic cable to directly connect Africa with Australia. The cable dubbed Umoja is anchored in Kenya, and will pass through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, “before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia. Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network,” said Google.

The US has also committed to designate Kenya as a semi-conductor partner, with the country becoming the first in Africa to benefit from funding in the Chips and Science Act of 2022, which provides Sh6.9 trillion to boost the production of computer chips in and out of the US.

“This designation will cement Kenya-US tech industry relationships. Kenya will be among less than 10 countries with that status, unlocking new market and opportunities for investments,” ICT PS, Eng. John Tanui said.

These investments are a huge benefit to Kenya’s digital transformation agenda, where the government is providing free public Wi-Fi, has pushed over 16,000 services online, trained over 390,000 youths in digital skills and is working to build 100,000km of fibre optic cable. Trade across East Africa will also benefit once the construction of a 440km Mombasa-Nairobi expressway is completed.

Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) signed Sh471 billion ($3.6 billion) deal with US infrastructure investment manager Ever strong Capital that will see the building of the highway enhancing movement of goods from port of Mombasa to neighbouring countries. The road makes the Northern Corridor, which links landlocked countries of the Great Lakes Region, including Uganda and Rwanda to the sea-port of Mombasa.

Fergus Kell, the Projects Manager and Research Analyst, Africa Programme at Catham House, observed that in President Ruto, the US has found an assertive international leader, “with a track record of promoting African solidarity and a keen awareness of the new partnerships possible in a multipolar world.” He added that visit offered policymakers in US and Kenya an opportunity to strengthen “foundations for long-term partnership”.

President Ruto said the agreements arising from the State Visit represent a strategic investment in Kenya’s future, promising significant economic growth, job creation, and improved quality of life for its citizens. For the United States, these deals not only strengthen ties with a key African country, but also open up new opportunities for trade and geopolitical influence in the region.

Kenya Yearbook to partner with educational institutions to tell country’s story

Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board CEO Lilian Kimeto (left) hands “The Yearbook” to Dr Leah Komen, the Head of Alumni Affairs at Daystar University, during a meeting at the Town Campus.

Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board (KYEB) CEO Lilian Kimeto said on Wednesday that the agency would collaborate with leading educational institutions to enrich the communication field and amplify the story of the country.

Ms Kimeto, who was speaking during a meeting with Dr Leah Komen, the Head of Alumni Affairs at Daystar University, said KYEB is committed to shaping the narrative about Kenya locally and internationally and what the government is doing to boost economic development.

“Kenya Yearbook is looking to collaborate with Daystar University on issues of communication, along with other partners,” she said at Daystar University, Town Campus.

“We want to tell the story of Kenya through digital formats such as podcasts, which resonate with the youth and this can happen with collaboration with Daystar. As communicators, we have a duty to serve our country by delivering impactful messages that hold meaning for our audiences,” Ms Kimeto added.

She said the upcoming 2024 edition of the Kenya Yearbook promises a refreshing shift as the publication will tell the nation’s story through the eyes of the youth, utilising their voices and perspectives.

This refocusing aims to make the Yearbook more relatable and engaging for a younger generation.

Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board CEO Lilian Kimeto (third left) and Dr Leah Komen of Daystar University (centre), during the meeting.

Dr Komen expressed readiness to support the Kenya Yearbook initiative, adding “We are ready to collaborate with KYEB and provide feedback on its publications.”

She underscored the importance of forming linkages between academia and practice, indicating that Daystar University is prepared to collaborate on policy formulation and practical communication strategies.

“We look forward to exploring areas where we can collaborate with the media to provide the public with vital information,” she said.

Both parties recognised the power of digital media in engaging younger audiences. By leveraging platforms like podcasts and social media, the institutions can make national stories more accessible and engaging for the youth, said Ms Kimeto.

Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board CEO Lilian Kimeto (front row fourth left) and Dr Leah Komen (third left) with other officers from Kenya Yearbook and Daystar University.

Others present at the meeting from Daystar University were Dr Daniel Aswani, the Head of Department for Strategic and Organisational Communication at the School of Communication, John-Bell Okoye, Cynthia Nekesa and Alex Mutuku.

Representing the Kenya Yearbook was Hilary Mwenda, Corporate Communication and Marketing Officer.

Owalo launches digital skills lab in Kajiado

ICT CS Eliud Owalo at Kajiado East Technical and Vocational College during the launch of Jitume Lab. Looking on is Kajiado East MP Kakuta Maimai.

Information, Communications and the Digital Economy CS, Mr Eliud Owalo, on Wednesday launched Jitume lab at Kajiado East Technical and Vocational College in Kajiado East Constituency.

Mr Owalo said the hub is part of the government’s initiative to establish 1,450 digital learning centres, one in each ward across the country, to facilitate digital skills training and job creation for the youth under President William Ruto’s bottom up transformation agenda.

In the last one year, he said the government has trained 390,968 youth and created 139,071 digital jobs through the initiative.

Present at the event were Kajiado East MP Kakuta Maimai, Dr Joselyn Nkonge, Principal of Kajiado East Technical and Vocational College, and Julius Ole Ntaiya, representing the Chairman of the Board of Governors, among other government officials.

Sh200bn Kenya-Uganda trade gets boost after Ruto, Museveni talks

President William Ruto (right) and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni at State House in Nairobi.

Kenya’s exports to Uganda are expected to grow significantly following the strengthening of relations between the two nations.

President William Ruto and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni last week signed an agreement that will enable Uganda to transit petroleum products through Kenya in a major development that will boost trade between the two nations.

Kenya’s exports to Uganda in 2023 stood at Sh120 billion, having for the first time crossed the Sh100 billion mark.

The country’s main exports to her neighbour are petroleum products, manufactured goods and iron and steel.

Similarly, Kenya is the biggest export market for Uganda in the East African Community, with the latter recording Sh116 billion in 2023.

It is for this reason that the signing of the agreement comes as a major break in the trade relations that had thawed following a dispute over oil transit.

Uganda in December 2023 filed a case at the East African Court of Justice claiming the Kenyan government had restrained it from importing oil from Mombasa straining bilateral ties.

“We have just witnessed this agreement which enables the Uganda National Oil Company Ltd to import refined petroleum commodities directly from producer jurisdictions thus bringing to an end the challenges faced by the sector in Uganda,” President Ruto said.

Adding, “As leaders, we are committed to implementing all our obligations for our people and nations to reap the full benefits.”

According to him, seven other agreements had been signed in Kampala, which are expected to consolidate the strong relationship between the two countries and eliminate trade barriers.

Presidents Ruto and Museveni acknowledged the importance of extending the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Malaba and all the way to Kampala and DRC as an efficient and sustainable infrastructure for the transportation of goods and people.

“President Museveni and I appreciated the benefits and power of our close coordination with respect to the East African Community, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and other regional organisations, which we recognise as the building blocks for the greater integration of our countries at the continental and international levels,” he said.

Teams from Uganda and Kenya during talks. counterpart Yoweri Museveni at State House in Nairobi.

President Museveni said he had discussed with President Ruto important issues affecting the two nations and East Africa.

“The agreements we signed during my visit carry the weight of historical context, aligning with our long-awaited missions. Over 60 years ago, Africa gained independence, yet the true depth of our historical mission remained unexplored,” he said.

He emphasised the need for the two countries to eliminate barriers hindering the development of trade.

“We should eliminate barriers which hinder trade not only between Kenya and Uganda, but also East Africa and Africa as a whole,” he said.

Prime CS and Foreign Affairs minister Musalia Mudavadi said the two countries would foster a robust and unified East African Community that transcends economic and diplomatic ties. ■

Tree planting drive gathers pace

Environment CS Soipan Tuya (third right) and PS Energy Alex Wachira (centre) among other officials in Narasha, Londiani, during a tree planting event.

Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have stepped up efforts to plant trees across the country, sustaining the tempo set by President William Ruto on May 10 during the National Tree Planting Day.

All MDAs have been allocated sites to plant trees and targets to achieve in a six-month drive that kicked off during the May 10 tree planting holiday.

The institutions have taken up the challenge guns blazing, according to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.

The ministry said the first week of the exercise has been a roaring success, with the government institutions recording a 100 per cent participation.

“The first week of the six-month rapid tree growing exercise led by Cabinet Secretaries has been a tremendous success with a 100 per cent turnout by MDAs in their assigned sites,” said the Environment ministry.

Ms Soipan Tuya, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, identified the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum as one of those that are setting the pace in the tree planting drive.

The Ministry targets to grow 884,169 trees in May as part of the deliverables for CS Davis Chirchir. The institution’s bigger goal is to plant five million trees each year by undertaking tree growing activities every second Friday of each month.

“The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has fully distilled its 2024 long rains tree growing targets, assigning each of its two departments, nine agencies and development partners monthly targets for its sites in Baringo and Kericho counties,” said Ms Tuya.

On Friday, during an event attended by Ms Tuya, Mr Alex Wachira, the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Energy, as well Kenya Forest Service officials and Community Forest Associations in Narasha Forest in Koibatek, Baringo County, some 80,000 seedlings were planted.

Similarly, Tourism CS Alfred Mutua with his PS John Ololtuaa alongside Ms Tuya and Forestry PS Gitonga Mugambi and Chief Conservator of Forests Alex Lemarkoko, planted some 13,000 tree seedlings at Mumoni Hills in Mwingi North, Kitui County.

The two Cabinet Secretaries encouraged the community to support the government’s 15 billion tree growing campaign by nurturing the planted trees to help combat climate change effects, which include the recent devastating floods.

Further, Dr Mutua unveiled a project where each tourist visiting the country would be expected to plant a tree to bolster environmental conservation efforts.

Dubbed “One tree per tourist”, the initiative aims to leverage the symbiotic relationship between tourism and environmental preservation. It involves collaboration with various stakeholders in the tourism sector, including hotels and agencies.

“Those with hotels should have a plan where, when tourists arrive, they are given a tree seedling, make a hole and plant a tree. We want a tree per tourist. If we get a minimum of three million tourists, we will have three million trees planted,” he said.

The dedication to the tree planting campaign is a huge boost to the national drive as Kenya battles effects of climate change that include drought and floods that killed some 270 people during the long rains season.

Tourism CS Soipan Tuya during tree planting events with Kenya Forestry Service officials.

The campaign is also expected to strengthen the government’s comprehensive 10-year ecosystem restoration strategy aimed at achieving 30 percent forest cover.

Educational institutions, including primary and secondary schools as well as technical institutions, have also given the tree campaign a big boost.

The institutions have mobilised their students to plant thousands of trees, with Kericho County Technical and Vocational College targeting to plant 350,000 trees.

The Institution’s Deputy Principal Wilson Koskey on Friday said the institution has so far planted 15,000 seedlings since the president issued the directive.

More momentum is coming from the Kenya Defence Forces, which President Ruto asked to help the country tackle climate change.

“I ask KDF to lead the way by providing mechanisms, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, of achieving the 15 billion tree planting programme,” President Ruto said during a pass-out parade for officers at the Defence Forces Recruit Training School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

He pointed out that the recent floods that affected many parts of the country, leading to loss of lives and property, were a consequence of climate change.

“As you secure our nation from emerging security threats, climate change is also going to be our biggest threat. This is why we must mobilise the military to provide solutions to such emerging issues,” he said.