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Kenya, India set up joint business council

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 25 – Kenya and India will establish a Joint Business Council to expand trade and investments between the two countries.

The establishment of the council was agreed during bilateral talks that were led by President Mwai Kibaki and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

The council will be the structured avenue for joint projects to be undertaken between the two countries and will also facilitate private investors.

The Indian Prime Minister said his country would support the implementation of projects identified by Kenya under Vision 2030.

President Kibaki highlighted the development of small and medium scale enterprises as critical to employment creation.

The President asked the government of India to help Kenya in the area of value addition of primary products especially agriculture. The President noted that Kenya would benefit from Indian technology in the area of irrigation through small to medium dams.

He also welcomed investors from India to Kenya and the expanded East African region.

Prime Minister Singh commended Kenya for being at the forefront in regional integration, pointing out that the expanded market was attractive for investors.

At the bilateral meeting, Kenya asked the government of India to allow the national carrier Kenya Airways to be allowed to start flights to Delhi and the state of Gujarati. The airline currently flies to Mumbai.

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Later President Kibaki addressed the 2nd Africa-India Forum Summit 2011 and urged African countries to explore modalities of partnering with the Indian government and the private sector to share appropriate technology that is relevant, affordable and accessible for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

The President also emphasised the need for African countries to effectively integrate in the global economy.  He noted that while African countries have commenced regional projects to facilitate connectivity to the global economy, there is need to partner with India in order to realize the heavy commercial and technological investments required.

"Of particular importance is the opportunity to draw on India\’s advanced information and communication technology to empower our people and link them to the global economy," said President Kibaki, adding that Africa\’s aspirations to improve the health of her people can also be supported by India\’s advancement in health and pharmaceuticals.

President Kibaki further emphasised the need to partner with India in the development of agriculture in the Horn of Africa noting that agricultural development remained core to addressing the challenge of perennial food shortages.

"We are keen to learn from India\’s success story in improving food production and value addition. Our region also seeks to promote small and medium enterprises, and to increase the volume of trade and investment," the Head of State said.

With regard to political cooperation, President Kibaki observed that the situation in Somalia deserves special attention adding that the gains recently made by African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) need to be reinforced through cooperative efforts that bolster the capacity of the African Peace Mission.

The Head of State affirmed his total commitment to working with other Heads of State and government towards a peaceful and more equitable international order, where the voices of Africa and India can be heard.

On the many challenges facing the horn of Africa, President Kibaki said the Horn of Africa region remains fragile and faced with numerous threats to international peace and security; including piracy, waste toxic dumping, and illegal fishing which requires concerted efforts to stabilise.

He lauded the positive efforts made by India to combat piracy, observing that its proximity to this region also opens a window to support the African Union comprehensive strategy on maritime security.

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