NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – It went down in history as the first time a South African President was making a State visit to Kenya but it was also a trip that promised better relations, as Jacob Zuma pledged to consider a request for Kenyans to get visas on arrival in his country.
Speaking at State House Nairobi when he met his host President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, President Zuma said his country was reconsidering its stringent visa conditions that had denied many Kenyans a chance to enter the country freely.
“There are obstacles that we have to remove. Because we cannot do it at a go, there are already steps that have been taken to people of a specific category who must not have problems to come into South Africa.”
Though he was non-committal if his country would heed President Kenyatta’s request that Kenyans be issued with visas on arrival to South Africa, he pointed at matters of concern especially how his country would handle issuance of visas to foreigners living in Kenya.
“Both Kenya and South Africa have a lot of foreigners. Some of whom could use that possibility for not good reasons and therefore those are matters that need be looked at as we move forward and we must find solutions to those issues,” he elucidated.
President Kenyatta in his plea to President Zuma explained that Kenya already allows South Africans to get visas on arrival at points of entry.
“This is something the South African Government will look into, because this is a privilege that Kenya already extends to South African nationals coming to Kenya. In our view there’s no reason why both of our governments cannot agree on exceptions of visas for each others’ citizens,” he explained.
Both presidents were in agreement that restrained movement of goods and people was one of the main barriers restraining trade relations between Kenya and South Africa.
Following the bilateral talks that also discussed cooperation in matters of security, the two presidents made it a priority to remove trade barriers to enable the two countries to benefit from their untapped trade potentials.
In their quest to expand trade opportunities and relations between the two countries, they further directed their foreign affairs ministries to work on an elaborate agreement that will identify possible areas of collaboration and partnership.
Zuma arrived in the country on Monday evening for a three-day visit to hold bilateral talks mainly on trade, security and immigration.