By Andrew Ross
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi ended his two-day visit to Kenya on Thursday, after pledding counter-terrorism support to the East African country and signing bilateral trade and security agreements.
Renzi visited the University of Nairobi, where he spoke about terrorism and last April’s Garissa University attack that led to the deaths of 148 people.
“I came to make a political statement and pay tribute to Kenyan universities after what happened in Garissa,” he told students in Nairobi.
“I stand here today not only to offer my condolences to the victims of terrorism in Kenya but also to send a strong message that we will never bow down to terrorists, we will not let terror deprive you of your right to a better future,” he said.
Renzi commended the Kenyan people for uniting to fight terrorism, saying that it is only through unity that Kenya will be able to defeat terrorism.
The Italian premier said that his government will continue to support Kenya in its battle against violent extremism.
“Italians will remain close to you; we will always assure you (Kenyans) support in a tangible way,” he said.
“We have started scholarship programmers for students who survived the Garissa University attack,” he said, adding that Italy also signed an agreement to improve the counter-terrorism skills of the Kenyan police.
Accompanied by Italian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Giro, Renzi then held bilateral talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top government officials at the president’s official residence, the State House, in Nairobi.
Kenya signed a $332 million bilateral deal with two Italian banks for the construction of a dam which is expected to serve more than 800,000 people in Molo, Kuresoi, Njoro, Nakuru and Rongai towns.
The new deal brings Italy’s total financial assistance to Kenya to $576 million.
The State House said: “The funds will cover the whole water project, which consists of construction of the dam, a tunnel, raw water treatment of 100,000 cubic meters per day and laying of pipes.”
“President Kenyatta welcomed more Italian companies to invest in Kenya, saying devolution has opened new investment opportunities in agriculture, infrastructure, energy, mining and manufacturing at the county level,” the statement added.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.