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India asked to make essential drugs affordable in Kenya 

Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha, has requested the Indian Government to support Kenya in negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to make essential drugs affordable and accessible to Kenya.

Prof. Magoha said pharmaceutical companies under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO/TRIPS) safeguards, have a substantial presence in Indian and by making the drugs affordable and accessible they will assist poor citizens get the drugs.

“We are grateful that many Kenyans seek specialized treatment in India because it is very affordable, and also thank the government of India for donating thousands of doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Kenya as a show of friendship to help vaccinate our citizens,” he added.

He said the country handed over 12 tonnes of Kenyan tea, coffee and groundnuts to frontline workers who were helping Covid-19 patients in India.

The CS made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Secretary (PS) State Department for University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, during the Commissioning of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Library at the University of Nairobi by the External Affairs Minister of India Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

The Library was constructed through the support of the Asian Community in Kenya, the Gandhi Memorial Society.

Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs, Republic of India, unveils a plaque to commission Mahatma Gandhi Graduate Library at the University of Nairobi on Monday, June 14, 2021 in Nairobi. He is flanked by Chief Administrative Secretary, Ababu Namwamba (looking on), Principal Secretary for Higher Education, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, University Chancellor, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi among other dignitaries.  Photo by Widen Ratemo

Prof. Magoha commended the bilateral relations that has existed for long between Kenya and India which has seen the two countries have strong trade ties.

The CS cited flourishing sea trading due to the strategic location on the Indian Ocean, with shared common interests in security, especially maritime safety.

He noted that in the post-independence period, India opened its gates to many Kenyans seeking higher education and could not secure placement locally because the country had only one institution of higher learning, the University of Nairobi.

“To date many Kenyans still go for higher education in India, whereas citizens of both countries have engaged in various partnerships,” said the CS.

The CS thanked the Indian government for providing more than four hundred annual scholarships to Kenyans to study in their universities.

“Kenya thanks the India government for supporting the revival and modernization of Rivatex Eldoret at Moi University, using credit of USD 30 million. That is one of our flagship projects for the realization of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’’ Agenda through manufacturing,” said the CS.

He said one of the greatest legacies of India to Kenya is the hardworking migrant population of industrious Kenyan-Indians who continue to play a big role in the country’s economy and national development.

The CS said the country has over 60 major Indian companies that have invested in various sectors of manufacturing, real estate, pharmaceuticals, telecom, banking, and agro-based industries which he said created thousands of direct jobs for Kenyans.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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