, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – Kenya and Ethiopia have concluded a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) under which Kenya will import up to 400MW from Ethiopia annually.
President Kibaki observed that the PPA is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates how interdependent the two countries are in pursuit of the socio-economic development of the peoples.
The Head of State cited limited infrastructural connectivity and low level of energy availability as some of the major challenges impeding the enhancement of trade between the two countries.
Speaking during a State banquet he hosted in honour of the visiting Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi at a Nairobi hotel, the president commended the Ethiopian Government for initiating hydro power generation projects beneficial to the region at large.
On the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, President Kibaki said the project recognises that infrastructure comprising efficient road and railway networks can unlock the huge untapped economic potential of the sub region.
Saying the project provided the country with the second transport corridor opening vast areas of the country, the President challenged Kenyans to take full advantage of the new corridor for economic gain.
The Head of State expressed gratitude that Kenya and Ethiopia have, over the last one year taken concrete measures to enhance bilateral relations by signing a Bilateral Trade Agreement.
“I am certain that we can facilitate increased trade by working closely within the COMESA framework as well as the Bilateral Trade Agreement”, said the president.
In keeping with the mutual desire to forge close cooperation, President Kibaki observed that the two countries had in place elaborate mechanisms in the form of the Joint Ministerial Commission to facilitate cooperation in many areas.
Saying the Joint Commission is not only the oldest bilateral cooperation arrangement, but also the most vibrant for Kenya, the president noted that the unique character of the Joint Ministerial Commission reflects the special nature of relations and engagement between the two countries.
“I am glad to note that since the 33rd Session of the Commission which took place in Addis Ababa in May-June last year, we have concluded ten instruments for cooperation in different sectors including trade, infrastructure, cooperative development, agriculture and defence,” he said.
The Head of State acknowledged the long history of the close ties between Kenya and Ethiopia which continued to be strengthened over the years through policies based on good neighbourliness and the imperative to work together in pursuit of sustainable development, peace and security in the sub-region.
Focusing on the sub-region, President Kibaki commended the Ethiopian Premier for the instrumental role he was playing as chair of IGAD in seeking resolutions to the longstanding crisis in Somalia, as well as the outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of the Sudan and South Sudan.
“You have always been ready to facilitate, host and chair several IGAD meetings, sometimes at very short notice, especially to tackle various crises in the sub-region,” the president said.
At the multilateral level, President Kibaki observed that Kenya and Ethiopia shared common positions on various issues of global concern particularly the environment.
“I am also confident that Kenya can count on your support in efforts to upgrade and maintain UNEP as a full UN agency based in Nairobi,” the President said.
In this regard, the Head of State commended the Mr Zenawi as Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change for his tireless efforts towards ensuring that the continent speaks with one voice on matters of climate change.
Assuring the prime minister of his continued support, President Kibaki noted that under Zenawi’s stewardship, the committee has given direction to Africa’s common position ahead of the meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other related fora.
He reaffirmed his commitment in rallying other countries, especially from Africa, to speak with one voice during the Rio+20 Summit when the international community will review the process of implementation of 1992 Earth Summit.
The president expressed confidence that the unity of purpose among African countries will further help in providing impetus towards the greening of world consumption and production patterns by supporting the Green Economy decisions.
On his part, Prime Minister Zenawi reassured that the relationship between Kenya and Ethiopia was so firm that even the change of government and ideological differences could not make a difference.
Zenawi said the two countries will remain steadfast in guarding against peace and at the same time put on notice a few peace spoilers out to undermine the stability in the region that they will be dealt with without mercy or favour.
The prime minister reaffirmed that Ethiopia will work with other countries in the sub region to bring tangible development.
President Kibaki and Ethiopian Premier toasted to the enhancement of the friendly ties between the two countries.
The banquet was attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Other senior government officials.