President Daniel Arap Moi yesterday thanked the Aga Khan Development Network for its grant to Kenya of Sh 4.4 billion to be utilised in the improvement of health and education.
He said the gesture will go a long way in improving the general welfare of Kenyans.
President Moi further said the organisation has for a long time supported Kenya's development efforts by promoting socio-economic development in various fields such as health, education and rural development.
He said the organisation had also promoted economic development initiatives in the fields of industry, finance and tourism.
President Moi was speaking at State House, Nairobi, during a luncheon he hosted in honour of His Highness the Aga Khan who is on an official visit to Kenya.
Saying that the Aga Khan's visit to Kenya comes at a time when Kenya is facing severe drought and famine due to insufficient rains, the President said the Government had taken adequate measures to feed those who are worst hit by food shortages.
President Moi also called upon Kenya's friends to assist in this emergency efforts.
He said that although famine relief is a temporary measure which does not address the root cause of the problem, the Government was seeking to focus more on awareness building programmes such as research and extension programmes for dry-land farming, drought resistant crops and water harvesting technologies.
The President assured the Aga Khan of the Government's commitment and co-operation for the smooth operation of the organisation in the country to improve the welfare of Kenyans.
In his address, His Highness the Aga said, he had been following with great interest the many development activities taking place under the leadership of President Moi's concern when the country is occasionally faced with challenges such as he current drought.
He said that he has always been impressed by the strong sense of national response in terms of collective and individual commitment in times of need.
And as regarding the Aga Khan Development Network's commitment in Kenya, and the Eastern African region in general, the Aga Khan commended President Moi for creating an enabling environment for those in the private sectors who wish to contribute to nation building.
He observed that the last decade in Kenya gave much cause for pride, but added there remained a number of problems. He said the Aga Khan Development Network has decided to accelerate and enlarge its activities in Kenya and East Africa in general.
The Aga Khan announced that the Network will invest up to US$80 million towards turning the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi into a focal tertiary care hospital serving the whole of East Africa.
In the field of education development, he said the Network will introduce programmes for school improvement activities which will have an impact on 200 to 300 schools in the country.
He also disclosed that the network would establish an institution for advanced nursing in Kenya to cater for the entire Eastern Africa.
He thanked President Moi, the Government and the people of Kenya for their help, support and encouragement to the network.
Present during the luncheon was the Vice-President and Minister for Planning and National Development, Professor George Saitoti, Cabinet Ministers and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr. Fares Kuindwa.
Meanwhile, President Moi will today officially open the Nation Printers and Publishers Limited's printing plant near Jomo Kenyatta Airport Resort Club, Athi River, in Machakos District.
The President will arrive at the Nairobi-Machakos boundary shortly after 11:30 am escorted by the Nairobi Provincial Commissioner, Mr. Zachary Ogongo and will be received by the Eastern Provincial Commissioner, Mr. Francis Baya and Machakos District leaders.
The Head of the State will then proceed to the Nation printing plant. On arrival at the printing plant, President Moi will be received by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Johnstone Makau, His Highness the Aga Khan, the Chairman of Nation Printers and Publishers board of directors, Dr.B.MGecaga, and the chief executive of the Nation Printers and Publishers, Mr. Wilfred Kiboro.
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