President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday sought deeper economic cooperation with Sudan to boost production of lower-cost sugar and expand Kenya’s tea exports to the Arab nation.
President Kenyatta recalled that during meetings with Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, they had agreed to collaborate more on sugar production, with Kenya learning from the technologies that have made Sudan one of the lowest-cost producers in the world.
He also said Kenya could learn from Sudan’s oil contracting and extraction arrangements, as it nears commercial production of its oils from the Lokichar fields in northern Kenya.
President Kenyatta spoke when he met Kamal Ismael, special envoy of President al-Bashir, who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi.
The envoy had come to Nairobi to seek President Kenyatta’s support for his candidature of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.
Ismael told the President that Sudan itself was committed to stronger Kenya-Sudan relations, and would this year increase its imports of Kenyan teas by 20 per cent.
Sudan is one of the leading buyers of Kenyan teas.
Sudan was also working with neighbours Chad, and other Arab nations to see how to increase availability of Kenyan teas in those countries, Ismael told President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta also said he wanted to see an agreement for Kenya to learn from Sudan on expanded cotton farming come to fruition, because it was at the base of a plan to increase textiles and apparels manufacturing under the President’s Big Four agenda.
The President has put food security and nutrition, affordable housing, increased manufacturing, and universal healthcare for all, at the heart of his agenda in his second-term of office, which started in earnest when he was sworn in November last year.