Kenya redefines foreign policy, recalls 52 envoys

The Kenyan government on Sunday recalled 52 ambassadors and high commissioners in all the East African nation's foreign embassies as the new government seeks to redefine its foreign policy.

Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia gave the envoys seven days to report back to Nairobi following reforms and redefinition of the East African nation's foreign policy mandate by the new government.

"The charge D'Affaires, deputy ambassadors and deputy high commissioners will look after the affairs of the foreign stations until further notice," Kimemia said and promise to divulge further information in due course.

The new development comes as the East African nation has always adopted a "neutral" approach in the international affairs.

Officials say the new constitution mandates the foreign ministry to promote foreign trade and expects diplomats and all government officials to maintain high standards of integrity.

Government officials who did not want to be named said the recalling of the new ambassadors would help the new government, especially the foreign affairs ministry, to rationalize its operations to effectively respond to what it considers as the challenging nature of international relations.

Kenya's foreign ministry launched its strategic plan in 2011, outlining the foreign policy focus as part of efforts to help in achieving the aims of the country's long-term economic dream of achieving a middle-income status, a plan outline in the Vision 2030.

The new foreign policy shifts attention from political diplomacy to economic diplomacy and enhancing foreign trade.

"There is now deliberate emphasis on trade and economic diplomacy as opposed to traditional political positions. Kenya is paying more attention to emerging market trends, especially in Africa to fully exploit its competitive edge," said a government official who did want to be named.

He said trade with China and India was growing, but the country needed to pay more attention to traditional markets in Africa to achieve higher growth.

Philippines News agency