Kenya and South Africa have agreed to set up a technical team to discuss ways to boost trade between the two countries and address bilateral imbalances.
This will follow a meeting with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta with his host and South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Tuesday.
In an address to journalists, Mr Kenyatta stated that the two countries have had diplomatic relations for almost three decades and that it would be best to resolve the imbalances for the benefit of both countries.
“In addition to strong bilateral relationships spanning a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners on a regional and global level,” said President Kenyatta.
He added that “the technical team that is being formed should review the range of goods and services that South Africa imports from the rest of the world, and those identify those that South Africa could source from Kenya and vice versa. “
Mr. Kenyatta added that tr Despite the fact that South Africa is a leading trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, trade and investment remain important pillars in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
In 2020 Kenya’s exports to South Africa amounted to around 33 million US dollars. Kenya’s imports from South Africa amounted to around 430 million US dollars. For the past 10 years, Kenyan trade values have been relatively static.
In terms of investment, South Africa is a major source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Kenya. In the period between 2016 and 2019, South African investments in Kenya rose sharply from $ 2.2 billion to $ 3.1 billion.
Keniatta also said that Kenya is working with and interested in South Africa To change imbalances by increasing production capacity and innovation.
“We can sustainably drive the increase in Kenyan exports to your country. We are confident that we have a wide range of products that would be beneficial to South Africa, “said President Kenyatta.
During his visit, President Kenyatta and President Ramaphosa witnessed the signing of eight agreements, including Memoranda of understanding in the areas of transport, health, diplomatic advice and training as well as tourism and migration.
Others were a bilateral air transport agreement (Basa) and MoUs on state printing companies and the return of refused citizens and illegal immigrants.
The Kenyan President said there are tremendous opportunities for private sector investment in Kenya under the Big Four agenda, with priority areas being investment in universal health care (UHC), quality affordable housing and food security, and manufacturing .
These priority areas are designed to generate good returns and are related g fundamentally on adding value, creating jobs and improving the quality of life of our citizens.
The two governments also agreed to use the bottlenecks in the trade and investment regimes between the two countries as an important building block for realizing the benefits the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA).
Mr. Kenyatta said the two governments are already working together to use the countries in their respective trading blocs to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area.
. This will certainly act as a catalyst to stimulate trade and investment between our two fraternal countries for the mutual benefit of our peoples, “said President Kenyatta.
At the same time, the Kenyan head of state praised President Ramaphosa for his exemplary leadership during his tenure as Chairman of the African Union.
who continues to lead our successful response to the pandemic to this day, “said President Kenyatta.