President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday held talks with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to boost cooperation in trade, security and infrastructure development. During the talks the two sought to review the progress in the implementation of earlier signed agreements and explore new areas to deepen fraternal ties between Kenya and South Africa.
In October 2016, Zuma made a historic State visit to Kenya which witnessed the signing of six agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in various sectors.
The agreements were on visa exemption for passport holders of diplomatic, ordinary and service passports cooperation between Kenya Investment Authority, Export Promotion Council and the Trade-Invest of South Africa among others.
During Zuma’s visit, both leaders directed that negotiation towards the establishment of a Bi-National Commission be expedited to further bolster trade relations between the two countries.
Following the visit, the two countries were able to resolve some of the key issues including visa requirements for Kenya nationals travelling to South Africa.
Key among these was the acceptance by South Africa to issue visa on arrival for official delegations, and the issuance of a one-off visa tenable for the duration of study in South Africa for Kenyan Students.
Uhuru’s official visit to South Africa will also focus on enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the area of training. Kenya and South Africa have concluded over 16 instruments of cooperation, agreements, MoUs and letters of intent on training.
For instance, the University of Pretoria and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) entered into an agreement for capacity building training for KWS staff. Both countries cooperate in scientific exchange, agriculture, public health, law, education and military training, among others.
On trade, Uhuru and Zuma are expected to discuss bridging the balance of trade which is currently highly in favour of South Africa. Tomorrow, Uhuru will meet Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded Zuma last month as African National Congress party leader.
He will also meet the Johannesburg business community and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen South Africa, Thomas Schaefer, who set up an assembling plant in Kenya in December 2016. On Saturday President Uhuru will attend celebrations to mark the 106th anniversary of the ANC.