Read fine print on trade deals

More details are now emerging of the various agreements struck between the American and Kenyan delegations during President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya.

Among the most significant is the apparent commitment of an American firm to take part in the Lamu port project, with an investment of about $9 billion.

Funding to support the youth, women and farmers has also been promised.

While many of these initiatives are welcome it is important that the Kenyan Government does its duty to ensure these arrangements are favourable to Kenyans.

The Americans clearly have security and geopolitical considerations informing their renewed focus on the Horn of Africa not least competition with other global rivals such as China.

Kenyan Government officials should be careful to extract the most favourable terms available.

In particular, it is essential that these commitments should not add to Kenya’s already large stock of external debt where that is feasible.

Transparency is also vital.

The government should move with dispatch to inform the public the full details of these commitments.

Overall, the renewed American focus on the Horn is welcome. But, at all times, local officials must act to advance the nation’s interests.