President Uhuru Kenyatta and French President François Hollande witnessed the signing of the deals at the Elysee Palace in Paris after holding bilateral talks that covered infrastructure projects which the Kenyan leader said were “key for bringing prosperity to the Kenyan people”.
The pacts signed included those on the financing of the Last Mile Connectivity Programme (Euros 120 million), additional funding for roads 2000 programme phase II (Euros 15 million), financing of Meru Wind Farm (Euros 60 million) and the financing of Ruiru II Dam & Water Supply project (Euros 19 million).
Briefing the press after the bilateral talks, President Kenyatta lauded the shared values between Kenya and France. He described France as “a true friend and a partner in our development.”
“We are here to deepen our relations with the French government and French people. We strongly believe in strengthening people-to-people relations and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends, and this occasion gives us that opportunity,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta disclosed that his talks with President Hollande covered a number of issues of mutual concern with security topping the agenda.
“As you know, both France and Kenya have been victims of terrorism – a global problem that Kenya has consistently said requires a global approach in resolving,” President Kenyatta said.
At the meeting, Kenya and France resolved to work together in combating terrorism.
On his part, President Hollande said Kenya and France have formed a strategic partnership that will boost intelligence sharing and help in the de-radicalisation of young people.
“We have agreed to work together to defeat terrorism. We also committed to ensuring that conflicts do not spread and we are extending our cooperation not only in Somalia but also in South Sudan and Burundi,” President Hollande said.
On technical cooperation, the Kenyan and French delegations discussed the partnership provided by the French Development Agency in various fields including infrastructure, water and sanitation, energy, micro-finance sector, environment, investments, culture, sport as well as education in teaching of the French language.
President Kenyatta expressed confidence that his visit to France will further strengthen and consolidate the existing relations between the two countries.
The two leaders commended the increase in trade between the two countries but noted the growing gap in favour of France.
“I proposed that the gap could be addressed in part by Kenya exporting more value-added goods,” President Kenyatta said.
The bilateral meeting – attended by Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed, Henry Rotich, Eugene Wamalwa and Najib Balala – also agreed that France should seek to significantly increase imports of Kenya’s coffee, tea, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.
President Kenyatta and President Hollande also agreed on the need to work out measures to grow the number of French tourists visiting Kenya.