A delegation of Kenyan financial sector representatives is set to visit Barbados in the next two weeks to explore business opportunities in the Caribbean.
The visit by the financial sector representatives is part several agreements reached after discussions between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados to deepen business ties between Kenya and the Caribbean nation.
PM Mottley, who invited the Kenyan delegation, said having Kenyan financial firms operating in Barbados will act as an anchor for Kenyan businesses that can then use the country as a hub to trade in the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region.
“When Kenyan banks and financial institutions get a foothold in Barbados and the Caribbean, Kenyan businesses will have familiar faces to deal with,” said PM Mottley.
The delegation is expected to include the Central Bank of Kenya and representatives of the Nairobi Securities Exchange among others.
The Barbados PM spoke on Wednesday evening at State House, Nairobi when President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta hosted a reception in honour of the Barbados leader who is in the country on a state visit.
PM Mottley said Barbados is eager to have direct air and sea links with Kenya to spur trade between East Africa and the Caribbean.
She said Kenya and Barbados will soon sign an air services agreement that will link Kenya and the Caribbean country through West Africa and onward to North America.
The Prime Minister said she is committed to work closely with President Kenyatta to create mutually beneficial partnerships between Africa and Barbados and the wider Caribbean Community.
PM Mottley said the people of the Caribbean have been separated from Africa for centuries but today’s technology is bridging the divide.
“Our people are moving forward and the technology of our time is bringing us together. It is an idea whose time has come,” the Prime Minister said.
She noted that exchange programs between schools and universities that were part of agreements signed earlier during her bilateral talks with President Kenyatta will increase the people-to-people interactions between Kenya and Barbados.
President Kenyatta, who was joined by Deputy President William Ruto, said PM Mottley’s visit will go a long way in bringing Kenya and Barbados closer in trade and culture.
He said the two nations have agreed to forge closer ties in banking and finance, health and education, ICT, and renewable energy.
The President said Kenya and Barbados are both leaders in promoting integration in their respective regions and will use their positions to bring Africa and the people of the Caribbean closer to each other.
The reception was attended by several Cabinet Secretaries and invited dignitaries including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.