President Jacob Zuma concludes State Visit to Kenya

President Jacob Zuma has this afternoon, 12 October 2016, returned to Pretoria after his State Visit to the Republic of Kenya, which he hailed as a remarkable success following his productive official talks with his Kenyan counterpart, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and the agreements signed between South Africa and Kenya in Nairobi.

This historic State Visit has been remarkably successful as we discussed and agreed on various important issues that will significantly heighten the bilateral and economic relations not only for our countries but also for the benefit of our respective regions. South Africa and Kenya occupy important places in their respective regions as leading economies therefore the outcomes of the visit will have a great impact in integrating the two regions, said President Zuma.

He added: Our countries share common democratic principles and it was important that we come to Kenya to elevate our bilateral and economic relations to lift our people from clutches of poverty and underdevelopment and also ensure greater economic integration between our regions.

Amongst the issues that the two Heads of State discussed during the visit was the issue of migration which would ensure efficient movement of goods and people to increase the volume of economic activities between the two countries.

President Zuma said, however, there were various measures that needed to be considered to enable such movements, in particular security measures since Kenya had been targeted by terror groups who might exploit such opportunity for their own criminal or terrorist ends.

Further discussions will be taking place between the two countries on the issues of migration and non-tariff barriers to trade and also how we can remove obstacles that have hindered such activities. We have tasked our ministers to urgently work on the implementation of our agreements on these matters and we expect a progress report in our next meeting in the near future, the President said.

President Zuma and President Kenyatta further exchanged views on important regional, continental and global issues of mutual concern, particularly the issue of peace and security in the continent. President Zuma said South Africa was committed to continue contributing in peace and security missions in the continent including in Kenya and the East Africa region, which have been adversely affected by acts terrorism and extremism.

During the visit, South Africa and Kenya signed various agreements and Memoranda of Understanding including an Agreement on Visa Waiver for diplomatic and official passport holders; an Agreement on Military Training, Visits and Technical Assistance; Agreement on Mutual Assistance between Customs Administration; Memorandum of Understanding on issues of Police Cooperation; Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on Lamu-Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor.

According to President Zuma, the signing of these instruments was a clear indication of the two countries’ collective determination to take their relations to a higher level.

During the State Visit, President Zuma also addressed the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum where he encouraged the business sector from both countries to explore investment and trade opportunities as governments had laid a foundation for such economic activities.

We encourage more South African businesses to consider Kenya as an investment destination, and we are actively encouraging Kenyan businesses to do likewise in South Africa. New sources of economic growth must be enhanced, with emphasis on the agri-business, services, automotives, capital equipment, infrastructure, energy and information technology sectors. This would require a concerted effort towards developing industrial clusters, and an adjustment of policies to ensure global competitiveness, the President said.

The visit was a historic as it was a first State Visit by a South African head of state since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.

President Zuma was accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Ms Lynne Brown, Minister of Public Enterprise; Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs; Mr Nathi Nhleko, Minister of Police; Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, and Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.

Source: Government of South Africa