, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday evening returned to the country after a successful four-day State Visit to Mozambique where the promotion of trade, enhanced bilateral relations and the blue economy formed the key agenda.
The plane carrying the President and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after 7.15pm.
During the visit President Kenyatta and his host President Filipe Nyusi witnessed the signing of two broad agreements covering political and economic cooperation and which will be at the centre of closer partnership between Kenya and Mozambique.
In those agreements, the two countries resolved to broaden their cooperation areas of mutual interest including trade, the mining sector, livestock breeding, tourism promotion, agri-business, manufacturing and value addition, and the Blue economy sector.
President Kenyatta used the visit to announce that Kenya will this year open a consulate in Maputo with the aim of elevating it to a full mission during the next financial year.
He also announced the scrapping of visa requirements for Mozambican citizens wishing to visit Kenya and encouraged them to explore investment opportunities in East Africa’s giant economy.
President Kenyatta further expressed the need for a review of the current Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) between the two countries with a view of elevating it to a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in the near future.
This transformation of the JCC to a JMC, said the President, is aimed at up-scaling the bilateral cooperation between Nairobi and Maputo to a more strategic partnership.
Presidents Kenyatta and Nyusi committed themselves to facilitate the growth of a strong private sector to thrive in both Kenya and the South African Nation.
President Kenyatta acknowledged that the private sector was a crucial driver to economic growth adding that his administration has taken the necessary steps to streamline rules and procedures to ease business operations, which investors from Mozambique should take advantage of.
During his tour of the port of Maputo, President Kenyatta was briefed on its operations and especially on the process of exporting coal-a key area that Kenya has interest in.
As part of collaboration between Kenya and Mozambique, President Kenyatta expressed the need to link the Mozambican ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala with Kenya’s ports of Mombasa and Lamu. The latter is still under construction.
President Kenyatta said that in the same way the ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala were the key gateways to the 15-member strong Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional market, the ports of Mombasa and Lamu are key arteries to the huge East African Community (EAC) market.