March 2, 2010
By ANTONY KARANJA in Dallas, Texas
Kenya’s ambassador to the US has urged Kenyans in the Diaspora to take full advantage of the opportunities which are bound to open up when the East African Community becomes a reality.
HE Peter N.R.O Ogego made those remarks when he was presiding over the official launch of the East Africa Chamber of Commerce (EACC) in Dallas, Texas on Saturday.
The chamber was founded in 2009 with the broad vision to advance social and economic relationship of government and businesses between East Africa and the United States.
Addressing attendees, he reminded them that there will be free movement within the EA community and that this will make it easier to expand their businesses anywhere within the bloc.
The Ambassador lauded the move to start the chamber and said that this was an idea that was long overdue.
He encouraged Kenyans to start their own businesses saying he is ready to support those who want to do so.
Many Kenyans own businesses in the Diaspora and the ambassador was quick to remind them that petty
He cited as an example, Mr. Ken Muthoka, the owner of Nai Sports Bar & Grill, the Kenyan owned restaurant where the ceremony was held and commended him for his efforts.
In his speech, Mr. Ogego reiterated that the Kenyan government takes keen interest in those in the Diaspora and it has always been supportive of initiatives that seek to develop them.
During the ceremony, Mr Ogego reminded Kenyans that the Ministry of Home affairs has a fully fledged desk dedicated to matters involving them in the Diaspora and encouraged them to seek any assistance they require from his staff.
“I will always support business initiatives by those in the Diaspora and I encourage those who need my help to contact the Kenyan embassy staff and we will always respond,” Mr. Ogego said. “I am always accessible to all of you.”
He also lamented the fact that so many opportunities for investments in Kenya by other American businesses were lost in the aftermath of the post-election violence that engulfed the country in 2008.
In stressing how important this new chamber is, he said that he had lost so many contacts that he had made prior to the elections and in the absence of such a chamber, these contacts simply evaporated. He however said that with a lot of hard work these contacts can be recovered.
In attendance at the function was Mr. Ron Hartfield, the Director of the In Own Little Way, a foundation that has been involved in several projects in Kenya which include medical missions and construction of small reservoir dams across eastern Kenya.
Mr Hartfield urged participants to take advantage of the chamber to expand their influence.
He said that it is important to maintain as many contacts as possible as this enables may lead them to acquiring vast information as well as resources that will help them in their businesses.
The attendees were also addressed by the Board Secretary, Mr. Charles Mulisa and Mr. Edwin Karuga who both expressed optimism that the chamber will be able to provide the much needed networking between businesses in East Africa and the US.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the newly launched chamber, Mr. Ben Kasue urged East Africans in the Diaspora to take advantage of this new chamber and expand their horizons in order to maximize their potential.