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Going to Kenya is an important undertaking, Mr. President

Published on May 22, 2015

Dear Mr. President:

Recently, the distinguished Harvard professor, Robert Rotberg, made the argument that your planned visit to Kenya in July is a “dumb” idea.

I couldn’t disagree more, and here is why:

One of Professor Rotberg’s central points is that your visit will exacerbate ethnic tensions in the country, as your father was a Luo, and Luos largely backed President Kenyatta’s opponents in the 2012 elections.

This is a misreading of Kenyan politics. While there are ethnic rivalries in Kenya, as in many African countries, the country is increasingly defined by its multi-ethnic private sector. In fact, in the 2013 elections, the private sector undertook an aggressive and comprehensive peace-building campaign that contributed significantly to a fair and free outcome. Given that you are going to Kenya to participate in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the first time it will be held in sub-Saharan Africa, your visit will be an important boost to Kenya’s private sector and its contributions to the country’s development. Read more. Source | Brookings