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Uhuru to hold bilateral talks with Ethiopia PM

Robin Obino @obinorobin

President Uhuru Kenyatta is today expected to hold talks with new Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu announced yesterday.

Ahmed arrived in the country yesterday for a two-day State visit.

The two are expected to discuss regional integration, peace and security in the bilateral talks set to strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Energy sharing will feature at the bilateral meeting following Ethiopia’s construction of the Gibe Dam III, which will produce additional hydroelectric power. Kenya expects to benefit from the new capacity, under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement signed in 2012.

Voice concern

Given the anticipated effects of the construction of the dam on Lake Turkana and River Omo downstream, Kenya will also voice its concern regarding the project’s environmental impact.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss infrastructure – especially the Lamu Port and South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project.

The Lapsset project, launched in March 2012 is one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, which the Jubilee Government is determined to see completed within the timeframe set.

Components of the project include the Lamu-South Sudan Ethiopia Road measuring 1,730 kilometres; a 2,240 kilometre oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, and then to Ethiopia; an oil refinery at Lamu to refine oil products for Kenya and Ethiopia; and a thirty-two berth modern port in Lamu which will triple the size of Mombasa facility.

The visit, which will also bring together Kenyan and Ethiopian private sector leaders and executives, presents an opportunity for the two groups to interact, dialogue and exchange ideas on stepping up economic and commercial links for the benefit of the people of both countries.

Past decade

Ethiopia’s economy has grown at an average of nearly 10 per cent for the past decade, the fastest in Africa

This will be Ahmed’s fourth international visit since his elevation to the PM’s office.

He took office after political unrest in the country led to the sudden resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn in February. He has previously visited Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.

“Kenya and Ethiopia have enjoyed strong bilateral relations, and deepened further by the Special Status Agreement between the two countries,” Esipisu said during a press brief  at State House, yesterday.

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