U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec Remarks Opening of Oracle’s Kenya and East Africa Office

Delta Towers, 14th Floor, Westlands

-As Delivered-

Dr. Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology, all distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Washeshimewah, Mabibi na Mabawana, Hamjambo! Habari zenu!

Good evening.  I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone here this evening, and especially to the team from Oracle that has traveled to be with us here tonight in Kenya.  I welcome Oracle’s commitment to Kenya and to East Africa by opening this new office.  I can assure you that the United States supports American businesses in Kenya, including, of course, high-tech companies such as Oracle.

The collaboration that exists between Oracle and the Government of Kenya is a primary example of the broad and deep relationship between the United States and Kenya.  Our two countries have been partners for more than 50 years.  We cooperate and work together in so many areas, from commerce, security and education, to agriculture, health care, and, of course in technology.

Our partnership was particularly clear during last months’ visit by President Barack Obama.  President Obama had an excellent visit – he was pleased to have the opportunity to spend time once again in Kenya, a country to which he has deep personal and familial ties.  The President was deeply grateful for the warm and enthusiastic welcome he received here.  And, during the visit, we accomplished a great deal.  We announced new progress on our security partnership, strengthened people-to-people ties, laid the foundation for more trade and investment, and, of course, co-hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

As President Obama said during his visit: “Africa is on the move…People are being lifted out of poverty… young people…are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing business… And that creates incredible opportunities for Africans and for the world.  It means more growth and trade that creates jobs in all our countries.  It’s good for all of us.  This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth.”

The expansion of such a leading technology company as Oracle into Nairobi is clear evidence that Africa is on the move.  And this expansion significantly advances the vision of Kenya – and Africa as a whole – as a hub for global growth and technological innovation.

I also want to applaud the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya’s ICT Authority and Oracle that will strengthen and broaden the implementation of Kenya’s National ICT Master Plan.  This strategy aims to transform Kenya into a technology hub that is globally competitive in the digital economy.  A key component of this collaboration is strengthening and broadening IT skills throughout the region to help all of East African citizens benefit from the life-changing technology that is transforming the way that we all do business, conduct our daily lives, and, how governments operate and interact with their citizens.  The U.S. government is also a partner with the Government of Kenya and the ICT Authority in implementing the National ICT Master Plan.  We seek to strengthen Kenyan technological capacity and innovation through visitor programs to the United States, through sponsoring workshops on topics like cyber-security, and through many other outreach activities.

During the July visit, President Obama and President Kenyatta also committed our two countries working together to address corruption in Kenya.  Kenya, on its part, will take a wide range of new steps that, when fully implemented, could help address the problem of corruption at all levels of government.  And the United States is committed to being a strong partner, providing technical and legal support, as the Kenyan government puts these policies and programs on anti-corruption in place.  Technology plays a crucial role in implementing this joint Anti-Corruption Pledge.  For one, objective, transparent data is critical to building the strong foundation necessary for developing open government and good governance.  We have been partners with Kenya in Public Financial Management reform, and I would also like to recognize Oracle’s efforts in supporting the Integrated Financial Management Information System, which is “aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of state financial management and the adoption of modern public expenditure management practices in line with international standards and benchmarks.”  This is a commendable goal and it is a goal that we would like to assist in implementing here in Kenya and across Africa.  With partners like Oracle, and the leadership of the ICT Authority and the National Treasury, we believe that progress will be made.

In closing, I would once again like to thank all of you here tonight.  Congratulations on the opening of your new office and I wish Oracle, and the Government of Kenya, continued success in their pursuit of elevating Kenya’s already high ICT operating standards and bringing even more life-changing technology to Kenya, East Africa, and the world.  Together, we are making the world better for both Kenyans and Americans.

Pamoja tusonge mbele.

Asanteni sana.