REMARKS BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR SPORTS, CULTURE AND HERITAGE DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE WRC/SAFARI RALLY KENYA AND TOYOTA KENYA PARTNERSHIP AT THE TOYOTA PREMISES, UHURU HIGHWAY
Mr Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department for Sports
Mr Phineas Kimathi, CEO WRC/ Safari Rally Kenya
Mr Dennis Awori, Chairman, Toyota Kenya
Mr Arvinder Reel, Managing Director, Toyota Kenya
Mr Joshua Anya, Chief Operations Officer, Toyota Kenya
The Entire Toyota Kenya Team
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to join you this morning to witness the signing of the WRC/Safari Rally and Toyota Partnership and the unveiling of the WRC Yaris Replica to feature at the return of the FIA/WRC Safari Rally Kenya for the first time in 19 years.
The Safari Rally was first held in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In its early days, the Safari Rally traversed the three East African countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Due to its robust character, the Safari Rally quickly gained global recognition as the “World’s Toughest Rally,” a reputation it has kept to date.
In 1978, it became a full round of the World Rally Championships featuring in the World Rally Championship series until 2002. After an 18-year break, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that it was time to bring the Safari Rally back home.
In 2019, to the jubilation of all motorsport lovers in the region, the Safari Rally returned to the prestigious World Rally Championship following months of enriching engagements with the Federation’ Internationale Automobile (FIA) and the WRC Promoter.
The Safari Rally has evolved and gained international interest for the top rally drivers in the world who came to Kenya to test their skills, endurance and challenging terrain navigation.
The Safari Rally also became a testing ground for vehicle manufactures to assess the durability and reliability of their products. This attracted core manufacturers including Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, Lancia and many of the top works teams in motor production and assembly.
It is notable to say that it is in Kenya that Toyota gained its reputation as the “King of Africa” amassing an impressive 8 Safari Rally victories. Today’s event brings us closer to re-living this Toyota experience when the Safari Rally returns to our country and continent in 44 Days on 24th June 2021. It will be exciting to see the Toyota Team back in action after the long break.
This partnership embodies the spirit of public-private partnerships in the area of sport with real human impact in enhanced road safety. Toyota is one of the most popular and respected motor brands in Kenya/Africa and its inclusion in the Safari Rally will encourage safer driving and inspire the next generation of safe motorists on the continent who identify with your unique global brand.
The process of assembling Rally cars takes into account the highest safety standards which is one of the dual themes of the Safari Rally this year. The Action for Road Safety Campaign led by the Government in collaboration with the FIA aims to use the Safari Rally as an education platform for safe motoring. This partnership is therefore very timely as we usher in the UN Global Road Safety Week on the week of 17th May 2021 where global partners are calling for the enforcement of low-speed streets worldwide, limiting speeds to 30 km/h (20 mph) where people walk, live and play.
I hope that we will broaden this partnership to cover all the aspects of the Safari Rally to deliver a sustainable Safari Rally Safe Motoring Legacy under the patronage of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta. I also hope that you join our Greening Legacy to reforest vast parts of our traditional safari rally routes which over time, have suffered massively from deforestation.
Together, we can and indeed will build back better and inspire more public-private partnerships in many other spheres of sport, culture and heritage.