President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced that Kenya will continue hosting the World Rally Championship for the next five years as per the sealed agreement with the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
The President was speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) where he flagged off the first ten rally cars for the second edition of the World Rally Championship.
The Head of State, who is also the patron of the rally, said the sport boosted the county’s economy by injecting Ksh.6 billion during the first edition last year.
“The historic nature of this rally is undeniable. Last year (2021), a record of 78 million people in 150 countries watched the rally. In addition, the rally was of great benefit to the country, injecting approximately Ksh.6 billion in our economy, with every sector sharing in the pie, including: players in the hospitality and transport sectors as well as micro, small and medium enterprises in Naivasha and its surrounding towns,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State expressed optimism that this year’s event will be bigger and attract more spectators across the globe, projecting Kenya as an attractive investment destination choice.
“We expect that this year’s event will be bigger and even better. Already, the enthusiasm by spectators and the euphoria in cities and towns across the country is unmistakable. This is a clear indication of the close connection that Kenyans of all ages and from different parts of the country have with this sport,” he said.
The President expressed optimism that this year’s event will be bigger and attract more spectators across the globe, projecting Kenya as an attractive investment destination choice.
He extended his gratitude to FIA, the World Rally Championship team and all stakeholders for organizing the successful event, saying the Safari Rally enjoys a special place in the country’s national heritage as it tells the story of its rich cultural tapestry, the warmth of its people and the diversity of its splendor.
“It is an iconic event tied to the history of our country, to the history of sports in Kenya and East Africa and to our determination to juxtapose the modern world with our natural beauty,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the event is a reminder to the nation that competition is not enmity and that all Kenyans should understand that they can compete against each other but accept the outcome with dignity and grace.
His sentiments came as the country is heading to the general election and this year’s Safari Rally is happening at the height of political campaigns in the country.
Also in attendance, Sports, Culture and Heritage CS Amina Mohamed thanked President Kenyatta for ensuring that the global event came back to Kenya after 19 years.
CS Amina pointed out that his determination and commitment has borne fruits that will see the country host the event uninterrupted for the next five years.