Robert Frank Godec has officially ended his six-year term as the U.S Ambassador to Kenya and will now pave way for former Senator Kyle McCarter.
Mr. Godec, in a statement posted Sunday on the U.S Embassy’s website, expressed his gratitude to Kenyans for welcoming him and his wife Lori, saying serving in his capacity has been “one of the great privileges of my life.”
He also commended Kenyan citizens for inspiring and giving him hope for the future with their determination, resilience, and courage.
“Remarkable Kenyans are creating jobs, growing produce, promoting peace, countering violent extremism, conserving the environment, and improving literacy and digital skills,” wrote Mr. Godec.
“Talented, intelligent, and resourceful Kenyans are building this country and, at the same time, weaving the fabric of our partnership.”
The outgoing envoy also cited some of Kenya’s longstanding challenges as widespread corruption, divisive ethnic politics, impunity, human rights violations, unemployment, and poverty.
He added that, however, the country’s leaders have demonstrated willingness to bridge political divides as shown by the March 9, 2018, handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Mr. Godec stated some of his achievements in office as stronger ties between the U.S and Kenya as demonstrated by former U.S President Barack Obama’s visit in 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the White House in August last year as well as First Lady Melania Trump’s Kenya tour in October.
“Every day, the American people, through our exceptional Embassy team, are investing in the Kenyan people and their future. We’ve placed reading books in the hands of every early primary school child; we provide HIV/AIDS treatment to over one million Kenyans daily so they can lead healthy lives and take care of themselves and their families; and, we are helping thousands of young people develop their skills and get better jobs,” he stated.
“We are supporting President Kenyatta’s Big Four initiative, encouraging better governance, and empowering women and people with disabilities. We are the largest international investor in devolution and are pleased to see the counties begin to bring about real change across Kenya.”
Mr. Godec also cited deeper commercial ties between the two countries during his tenure through issuance of five-year VISAs as well as the launch of the first direct flight between Nairobi and New York in October last year.
“We’ve brought thousands of entrepreneurs to Kenya, increasing trade and investment. American companies, seeing the vibrant Kenyan entrepreneurial spirit in world-class technologies, are boosting their engagement,” he added.
“Just in the past few months, we’ve concluded nearly one billion dollars in new commercial deals that will help build prosperity in both our countries.”
Mr. Godec further reiterated the U.S’ pledge to help fight terrorism in East Africa by offering information, technology, and training.