President Uhuru Kenyatta has hailed the state visit by South African President Jacob Zuma saying it heralds a new chapter in the relations between Kenya and South Africa.
President Kenyatta said stronger bilateral relations between Kenya and South Africa will also benefit the whole of Africa since the two countries are already playing pivotal roles in the continent.
He spoke when he hosted a state banquet in honour of the visiting South Africa President Jacob Zuma and his wife Sizakele Zuma at State House, Nairobi, last night.
The President pointed out that the continents leaders need to cooperate and collaborate with each other to provide solutions to problems challenging the people of Africa.
“We need to recognize that it is our role to find African solutions to our African problems and no longer accept that it is others from outside this continent who will direct the future agenda of this continent” said President Kenyatta.
The Head of State said Kenya and South Africa are already working closely on many issues including their shared push for peace in Africa.
“Our mutual desire to bring lasting peace to countries such as Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi and Central African Republic has seen us consult each other ever more closely,” he added.
He said Kenya and South Africa are also united on the urgent need to have the decision-making processes of the United Nations, and its key organs such as the Security Council, reflect the prevailing global democratic imperatives.
“A continent as important as Africa can no longer be relegated to the periphery,” said the President.
President Zuma said his state visit to Kenya marks an important occasion in the history of bilateral relations between the two sister nations.
“The state visit demonstrates our desire to take relations with Kenya to a higher level and to forge a mutual partnership with this sister nation,” he said.
He said the two countries have agreed to prioritize economic cooperation using bilateral instruments as well as the tripartite free trade areas of South Africa Development Cooperation (SADC), Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa-(COMESA) and the East Africa Community (EAC).
He said the future of the two countries lies in forging closer strategic partnership not only to drive their bilateral cooperation but to advance the continental agenda of peace, security and economic development.
The banquet was also attended by cabinet ministers from the two countries, members of diplomatic corps, business leaders and senior government officials.