Kenyan President signs several cooperation agreements during state visit in South Africa

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta /CFP Image

South Africa and Kenya signed several cooperation agreements and a Memoranda of Understanding on Tuesday in the South African capital of Pretoria intended to further bolster ties, Anadolu Agency reported.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is in South Africa on a two-day visit. Kenyatta and host Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed as their ministers signed agreements on diplomatic consultations and diplomatic training and tourism.

They will also cooperate in migration matters; return of nationals refused entry and illegal entrants; health; transport-related matters and bilateral air services, among others.

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, is South Africa’s largest trading partner in Africa, apart from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc.

South Africa exported goods worth 7.5 billion rand (474 million U.S. dollars) to Kenya in 2020 against imports of 329.5 million rand (20 million U.S. dollars) from Kenya.

Kenyatta and Ramaphosa agreed that as partners and strong advocates of Pan-Africanism and intra-Africa trade, South Africa and Kenya ought to set the example by increasing the volume and composition of bilateral trade as well as investing more in each other’s economies.

The two leaders acknowledged the recently signed Strategic Partnership Framework between South African Airways and Kenya Airways which will ultimately facilitate more trade and investment and enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and ultimately, the region and beyond.

There are more than 60 South African companies operating in Kenya, with investments in financial services, real estate, food and beverages, entertainment services and the hospitality sector.

Regarding the continent, the two leaders discussed political developments, particularly unfolding events in Ethiopia and Sudan.

Ramaphosa said his country supported Kenya’s election for the non-permanent presidency of the United Nations Security Council 2021-2022 and looks forward to working with Nairobi in addressing security issues on the continent.

He said South Africa is most alarmed by the conflict in Ethiopia and there is an urgent need for both sides to reach a cease-fire and find a lasting solution.

Kenyatta said his meeting with Ramphosa will strengthen relations.

He announced his country will soon start producing coronavirus vaccines and he will be visiting the Aspen Pharmacare facility Wednesday in South Africa — seeking possible cooperation.

Aspen Pharmacare currently manufactures and distributes vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for a global market under international standards.

Kenyatta will also visit an engineering plant to see South Africa’s capability in the supply and maintenance of rail-related technology.

The two leaders addressed the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum that was held to further explore new areas of economic, trade and investment cooperation.