ABUJA, Nigeria, May 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Abuja, Nigeria on Sunday evening at the start of a State visit that will also see him attend the World Economic Forum on Africa.
The plane carrying President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta touched down at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport shortly after 6pm local time.
The President and the First Lady were received by senior Nigerian Government officials led by the Abuja Federal Capital Territory Minister Alhaji Bala Muhammed Abdulkadir and the Kenyan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Tom Amolo.
Speaking to the press earlier, Amb Amolo said President Kenyatta’s State visit will deepen the bilateral ties that have been blossoming especially in the last one year since the Jubilee Government assumed office.
He said this is the first time President Kenyatta is in Nigeria for a State visit and the first time that State House, Abuja, will be hosting a business forum that will be attended by the President of Kenya.
“President Kenyatta has made a personal effort to ensure that we widen relations with all African countries. This visit underscores the importance of Africa in our foreign policy,” Amb Amolo said.
The High Commissioner disclosed that in the last few months Kenya and Nigeria have been working towards creating umbrella agreements that will enable Kenyan and Nigerian businesspeople to interact more and encourage Nigerian investors to invest in Kenya.
“Has that been successful?” Amb Amolo asked, “Yes. As we speak, Mr Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian business magnate, is finalizing his efforts to set up a $600 million cement plant in Kenya.”
Amb Amolo said Kenya and Nigeria are also working on a five-year visa for businesspeople that will ease their movement between the two countries.
“The reason why we are doing this is because Nigeria is Africa’s largest country in terms of population and economy. If you want business to succeed, make sure you are in Nigeria. That is why President Kenyatta is coming with one of the largest business delegation,” Amb Amolo said.
The High Commissioner expressed confidence that President Kenyatta’s State visit to Nigeria would boost business relationships between the two countries and remove the bureaucratic hurdles that slow down business processes. It will also enable the two countries to cooperate better at the multilateral level including at the United Nations and other international fora, he said.
Amb Amolo said the Kenyan High Commission in Nigeria is working to ensure that the huge number of Nigerian businesspeople with their massive capital invest in Kenya.
“Kenya-Nigeria relations are about genuine businesspeople who are willing to invest in Kenya for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” Amb Amolo said – PSCU.