Japan has also been a longstanding contributor to Kenya’s efforts to become one of the world’s leading producers of clean energy.
The Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant, which produces 30 per cent of the country’s power generation, is the flagship project in this respect. The expansion of Ngong Road to ease congestion in that vital entry-point to Nairobi is at an advanced stage, while our cooperation with the private sector is highlighted in the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone of Mombasa, now under construction.
This, alongside the upgrading of Mombasa Port and related infrastructure projects, is a major national project which is expected to create more than 27,000 jobs.
Every year, dozens of Kenyan students go to Japan for higher studies sponsored by the Japanese Government, including under the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE scholarship), of which Kenya is the biggest beneficiary in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our ties in sports are also deep, with Kenyan athletes training in Japan and passing their skills on to the Japanese. In turn, Japan has also helped to nurture and develop the talents of some of Kenya’s wonderful volleyball players.
I really hope to see both countries’ flags raised high during the medal presentation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After spending just over a year in Kenya and having experienced the warmth and hospitality of the people, I decided to deepen my connection by embarking on an exciting, challenging but ultimately incredible adventure at the end of September. I decided to climb to the summit of Mt Kenya, the magnificent landmark for which Kenya is famous.
I am not a young man any more, being 60. But I felt this would be a great way to experience Kenya more vividly and I am glad to report that, with the excellent help of my guide, David, and with some porters, a friend and a cook, we managed to overcome many challenges and to scale the 5,199 metre climb and enjoy the magnificent view from the Lenana Peak.
As we celebrate the Emperor’s birthday, I have no doubt that the more than a half-century relationship between Kenya and Japan will only continue to deepen and together we will scale new heights.
Mr Uesawa is Ambassador of Japan to Kenya