The Life & Work of His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed A. Gello, MBS, Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in the Republic of Korea.
His Excellency is Kenya’s current Ambassador to S. Korea. The passionate career diplomat is calm, collected and easy-going and one can tell it a few minutes upon meeting him. He holds a stellar career spanning the many years he has been in public service but his humility and down-to-earth demeanor overshadows the need to show off. Which makes him a man you would admire. We all do. Today he allows us into his space and gives us insight into his education and career. From him, you will learn what the role of an ambassador entails. And what he is doing to build the Kenya-Korea relations.
His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed A. Gello is a career diplomat and a holder of Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Nairobi. He also holds two Masters of Arts Degrees in Public Administration from the Punjab University, Chandigarh, India and in International Studies from the University of London in the United Kingdom.
His career in the Public Service
Amb. Gello began his career in public service as a graduate teacher at the Wajir High School in 1986 before joining the Kenya High Commissioner in New Delhi, India as an Education Attaché in 1988-94. He also served as an Education Officer I in the Ministry of Education in 1994-95 before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Head of Education and Training Division from 1995-2000 after which he served as Deputy Chief of Protocol up to the year 2002. He then joined the Embassy of Kenya in Washington DC in the United States as Foreign Service officer I up to the year 2006. He headed the China Desk from 2006-09 before his appointment as the Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he served from 2009-2015 before his next assignment as the representative of the Head of State in the Republic of Korea from February 2015 to date.
During his 33 years in public service, H.E. Gello has distinguished himself for his exceptional dedication to work and results oriented approach in the dispensation of duty. For this reason, the Ambassador has worked on specialized assignments to steer key committees on strategic themes of national and global interests including as: member of the Ministerial Executive Committee on the organization of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the 12th Conference of Parties; member of the Ministerial executive Committee on the organization of the 8th Basel Conference; and member of the Task Force on the Rationalization, Restructuring and the Strengthening of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For his dedication to service, Ambassador Gello received the Head of State Commendation, Member of the Burning Spear (MBS) on 12th December, 2012.
So what are some of his achievements as Kenya’s Envoy in the Republic of Korea?
During his tenure, Amb. Gello has facilitated several high level exchanges between Kenya and Korea. The former President of Korea Ms. Park Guen Hye visited Kenya in May, 2016. The Prime Minister H.E. Lee Nak-yeon was in Nairobi in June, 2018 where he held consultations on mutual cooperation with H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Deputy President H.E. William Ruto, while the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb. Monica Juma was in Seoul in October, 2018 in the first ever visit by a Kenya Minister for Foreign Affairs to Korea. These high level exchanges denote the levels of commitment invested by both parties in deepening the existing lines of collaboration.
Since 2015, an unprecedented number of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have been signed between Kenya and Korea in fields of mutual interest such as health, education, agriculture, cultural promotion, ICTs, energy, infrastructure, fisheries, water and sanitation as well as trade and investment. It is worth noting that the Agreement to establish the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) was signed in May 2016 in anticipation of Kenya’s need for highly skilled personnel to drive the Big Four Agenda entailing universal health care provision, food security, affordable housing and industrialization in the backdrop of the 4th industrial revolution.
In the endeavor to increase the value and volume of the export of Kenyan products to Korea, Amb. Gello has spearheaded sustained engagement with the authorities of the Government of the Republic of Kenya to address the non-tariff barriers impeding bilateral trade. This culminated in the securing of clearance for the entry of Kenyan bananas and broccoli into the Korean market with negotiation for the access of avocadoes still in the pipeline.
The Mission, under Amb. Gello’s stewardship has established cordial relations with the Kenyans living in Korea through close collaboration with the officials of the Association of Kenyans in Korea (KCK) evident in the various joint activities co-sponsored by the Embassy. The Mission has for the first time employed two Kenyans on a full time basis to the post of Administrative Assistant and Accounts Assistant. The Mission also established an internship programme that has benefited a number of Kenyans in Korea and furnished them with the requisite skill and exposure to navigate the highly competitive job market. All these initiatives have served to greatly enhance the Mission’s Diaspora outreach programme.
Kenya’s presence and prestige continues to grow in Korea due to the synergy generated by the close engagement with the Host Government as well as the Kenyan Community. This was evident in the support and participation of the Government of the Republic of Korea at the highly successful first ever global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) held in Nairobi on 26th-28th November, 2018 in Nairobi through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The Mission’s success in maintaining a high profile in Korea can also be attributed to the support of associate agencies notably the: International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Korea-Africa Foundation, Korea Trade and Investment Authority (KOTRA), Importers Association (KOIMA), Chamber of Commerce (KCCI), Korea Trade Association (KITA) and Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) whose continued cooperation remains invaluable.
So what does he have to say about his experience as the Kenya’s envoy?
“Serving in the Republic of Korea has been an eye opening experience given the unique history and unique diplomatic situation presented by the geo-politics particularly in the Korean Peninsula. The tour of duty in the Republic of Korea accorded the pleasure of imbibing the rich Korean culture as well as the multiplicity of its culinary delicacies.
The most important responsibility remains steering the Mission to improve the balance of trade which to date remains in favour of Korea. Our exports are primarily agricultural and horticultural produce. Consultations are ongoing to procure Korea’s support in strengthening Kenya’s industrial capacity particularly in the field of manufacturing and value addition.
The biggest inspiration is the solemn call of duty to serve our beloved country and raise her profile in the Republic of Korea. The welfare of Kenyans living in Korea remains at the heart of the Mission’s service delivery agenda. The desire to optimize the resources to deliver fully on the mandate of the Kenyan Mission in Korea is a major motivating factor as well as steering the team at the Kenyan Embassy to invest their best effort in ensuring our flag continues to fly high in the Republic of Korea.”