NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – As Kenya positions to become a middle-income country by 2030, President Mwai Kibaki is appealing to key trade partners to invest in various flagship projects in the country’s development blueprint.
South Korea is the most recent country to be called upon to invest in the multi-billion Lamu Port and the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor (LAPSSET) project.
“The entire project will include development of railways, highways and pipelines to interconnect our trading neighbours, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan,” President Kibaki said after meeting with visiting South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik.
President Kibaki appreciated South Korea’s support to Kenya’s development endeavours and expressed optimism that the mutual development partnership between the two countries will further be enhanced.
Korea has been one of Kenya’s major trading partners since 1964, with many Korean companies having set up shop in the country since, and most recently the launch of direct flights by Korean Air to Nairobi.
During the period of 2000 and 2010, trade between Kenya and Korea grew from Sh3 billion to Sh11 billion, indicating a 263 percent growth.
In a separate meeting with his South Korean counterpart on Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga echoed the President’s sentiments in widening the scope of cooperation between the two countries in agriculture, Information Communication Technology, energy and water.
“We would like to see more of our tea, coffee, and other agricultural products being exported to Korea. We also are encouraging Korean businesspeople to increase their investments in Kenya, and cooperation expanded in new fields like nuclear energy,” he said.
On regional peace and stability, President Kibaki and the South Korean Prime Minister also discussed reinforcing Kenya’s peace initiatives in Sudan and Somalia.
Following the re-hatting of the Kenya Defence Forces to AMISOM, the South Korean Prime Minister pledged that his government would join hands with other members of the international community in supporting the AMISOM troops in Somalia.
During the South Korean Prime Minister’s four-day official visit, an MOU between Kenya Marine Authority and Korea Coast Guard will be signed, which is geared towards strengthening and improving the efficiency and effectiveness in maritime safety and surveillance and sharing of information on piracy.
Prime Minister Hwang-Sik will also preside over the signing of an MOU between the University of Nairobi and the Korean Foundation, where the University will receive Sh5 million towards the start of Korean studies at the University.