NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Kenya and Mauritius have agreed to make the two countries the financial and trade hubs for Africa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya and Mauritius need to complement each other as the two nations have a similar approach in economic development.
The President spoke when he met the Mauritius Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Minister, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi.
The Head of State said the two countries will sign agreements that will ensure Kenya and Mauritius become Africa’s financial, maritime and aviation hubs.
‘’Africa is a natural corridor linking Asia and Europe, and our two countries should benefit from this key geographical location,’’ President Kenyatta said.
He directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed up the process of establishing a Joint Commission of Cooperation, which will follow and implement the issues that are agreed.
The joint commission will, therefore, be the vehicle which explores possible cooperation between the two countries and also deal with impediments that hinder bilateral trade.
“There could be no better partner for Kenya than Mauritius in financial services, agriculture and other affairs of common interest,” said the President.
“As Asia continues to grow, we are going to become an important link between Asia and the West.”
President Kenyatta said the two countries should not compete but complement each other in order to achieve the African dream.
The President said the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement between the Mauritius Airline and the Kenya Airways should be implemented as quickly as possible as a way of making the aviation hub dream a reality.
He also said Kenya Ports Authority and Mauritius Ports Authority need to work together so that the two countries can use shipping business for the benefit of their citizens.
“We are looking into ways of making Mombasa a trans-national port. The two ports should partner as important maritime hubs to serve this region,” said the President.
The Mauritius Foreign Minister said his country is willing to work with Kenya.
“We have agreed to the proposal of a Permanent Joint Commission with a team of officials in both countries to actualise our dream,” said Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo.
He pointed out that Mauritius has sought help from the IMF and the World Bank to set up programmes aimed at strengthening the financial sector in the continent.
He said the proposed partnership will strengthen cooperation in the developing world and thus create growth and prosperity.