Tourism CS Najib Balala says his ministry was still making efforts to find Oscar Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o in Hollywood to be able to market Brand Kenya abroad. 

In an interview on KTN News on Wednesday, Balala said the Tourism Ministry would appoint Lupita as soon as both side are able to agree on the terms and conditions.

The CS said the government has been unable to reach the 12 Years a Slave actress due to complications that he did not disclose.

“Unfortunately, we could not reach her in terms of complications of how do we engage her, how much it is going to cost to bring her on board. Those are the things that we are ready to engage with her team and we are ready to appoint her as well,” he said. 

Balala refuted claims that Brand Kenya was biased in such appointments, saying the ministry was open to local and international celebrities to act as Kenya’s tourism ambassadors. 

In January, he faced a backlash after he claimed that Lupita had been unreachable for five years, claims the top-grossing Hollywood actress, who is based in the US, laughed off. 

Balala spoke at the time after he was forced to defend his decision to appoint British supermodel Naomi Campbell as Magical Kenya’s international ambassador and not Lupita. 

He disclosed then that Campbell had agree to a role as Magical Kenya's International Tourism Ambassador for free due to her love for the country.