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Kenya, Indonesia in race to bolster bilateral ties

Kenya and Indonesia have ramped up efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and explore lucrative investment opportunities between the two countries.

Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, terms Kenya’s enormous potential  as key in bolstering ties between the two countries and has undertaken to assist Nairobi attain self-sufficiency in edible oils through large scale farming of palm oil, sunflower oil and soya beans.

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“We believe that the many potentials, both in G-to-G and B-to-B, are significant in strengthening relations between our two countries,” remarked Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan during his recent visit to the country.

During the visit, Minister Luhut led a delegation of high-ranking officials from Ministries and Institutions and state-owned and private companies in meeting President William Ruto at the State House, Nairobi.

The visit, which was arranged in a two-day business forum, served as preparation for President Joko Widodo’s visit to Kenya in August, agreed on several matters within the G-to-G and B-2-B frameworks.

It resulted in some deliverables, including Pertamina’s investment plans in the upstream oil and gas industry and the geothermal sector, plans for cooperation between Bio Farma and Kenyan SOE on vaccines, plans for the distribution cooperation of Combiphar with Kenyan local partners, plans for livestock imports, plans for investment by Indonesian textile companies in Kenya, and plans for cooperation in the oil palm sector.

Coordinating Minister Luhut explained that Kenya has a very strategic location as a vital commodity hub with high economic value to a broader market with more than 300 million people in countries around Kenya, such as Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, DRC, and many more.

Regarding G-to-G, the governments of Kenya and Indonesia also agreed on a Letter of Intent for cooperation in livestock and animal health.

The visit also encouraged the completion of a bilateral defense cooperation document and to start Preferential Trade Agreement negotiations to promote trade relations between the two countries.

In addition to meeting with President Ruto, Coordinating Minister Luhut also held meetings with Kenyan ministerial-level officials, namely the Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry, the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, the Cabinet Secretary for Defense, and several other high-ranking officials.

This visit also symbolizes the spirit of Bandung in 1955, which led to the decolonization of Kenya and is historical evidence of the struggle for independence together.

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