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Kenya, Somalia commit to enhance bilateral relations in trade investment

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Kenya and Somalia have committed to deepen their bilateral relations and economic ties in trade and investment with a view of boosting the economy of both nations.

The commitment follows meeting between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The two countries also discussed joint elimination of cartels and promoting transparent and sustainable trade practices that benefit all stakeholders.

Prime Minister Barres’s official visit comes on the heels of the third Session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) between the two countries held in Nairobi from May 3 to 5, 2024.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to deepen bilateral relations in trade and investment. They recognised the opportunity for both States to complement each other’s resources, goods, services and personnel resulting in a cohesive bilateral trade system,” said Kenya’s Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Musalia Mudavadi in a joint communique.

The meeting held at the Deputy President’s Official Residence in Karen, Nairobi, was also attended by senior Government officials from the two nations.

In his remarks Gachagua noted that despite the rich historical and cultural ties between the two neighbouring nations, the bilateral trade was still minimal.

He observed that in 2022, Kenya’s exports to Somalia amounted to USD124.5 million (Ksh.15 billion) and imports were USD581.7 thousand (Ksh.71.5 million).

“There is no doubt that these trade volumes could be increased through leveraging the Kenya–Somalia relations into tangible benefits by creating opportunities for our citizens,” said Gachagua.

Kenya and Somalia further resolved to work on removing barriers to facilitate the movement of people and goods, promote investment and open up new markets of mutual interest.

Gachagua challenged the respective Chambers of Commerce of the two countries to consider establishing a Memorandum of Understanding amongst them with the objective of boosting interaction between the private sectors.

He stated that the enhanced bilateral relations will advance shared economic prosperity for the benefit of the Kenyan and Somalia people.

On admission of Somalia into the East African Community integration process in November 2023, the Deputy President said Somalia will benefit from the EAC’s regional infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and energy networks.

This, he said, will improve connectivity and enhance transportation links and boost regional trade.

Discussions of the two leaders also covered other areas of the economy such as defence, internal security, immigration, economy, education, transport and infrastructure, political affairs, among others.

To foster sustainable agricultural and livestock development, the two Governments tasked their respective Cabinet ministries to initiate and finalize the necessary MoUs to promote cooperation in Crop Development, Livestock Health, Marketing, among others.

“The two Leaders emphasised the importance of the implementation of the concluded instruments and directed the Ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs to develop implementation modalities,” said Mudavadi in the joint communique.

He said the leaders also noted that there were ongoing discussions to conclude several bilateral instruments in other areas, including Internal Security (immigration and police matters), Trade and Industrialisation, Standards, Agriculture, Health, Education and Training, Cultural Cooperation, Sports, among others.

He stated that they directed their respective ministries to expedite dialogue and formalise relevant agreements.

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