President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed optimism that Kenyan exports to the Slovakia market will increase following President Andrej Kiska’s State Visit to Kenya.
President Kenyatta said President Kiska’s tour of tea and flower production centres during his visit to the country will boost export of the commodities to the Slovak Republic.
“We view this as an important step in bridging the trade gap between our two countries,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta was briefing the press at State House, Nairobi, after he held bilateral talks with Slovak President Kiska.
The talks also attended by Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Joseph Nkaissery (Interior), Fred Matiang’i (Education) and Najib Balala (Tourism) among others, focused on development cooperation, trade and investment.
“I conveyed to him the appreciation and gratitude of Kenya’s people for Slovakia’s support of our development agenda,” President Kenyatta said, noting that the Slovak Republic is also interested in providing scholarships to Kenyans – especially the underprivileged.
As part of the efforts to make Kenya a preferred investment destination, President Kenyatta said his Government has undertaken a wide range of business regulatory reforms aimed at reducing the cost of doing business.
“With these advantages, I think it is clear that Kenya is a natural destination for Slovakia’s investment and trade, and I expect that there will be a follow-up meeting with government and the private sectors of both countries to establish new relationships as well as strengthen existing ones,” President Kenyatta said.
During the bilateral talks, the two leaders also discussed peace and security in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi.
“We are both grateful for the progress made in state building in Somalia, which was recently capped by the election of a new President,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s committed to the South Sudan peace process through its engagement in the regional frameworks that include IGAD and the African Union (AU).
“But equally, we believe that South Sudan’s leaders need to take full responsibility in ensuring the protection of civilians, bringing a complete end to the violence and rebuilding their nation,” President Kenyatta said.
On his part, the Slovak President said Kenya’s position as a gateway to the African market could not be overlooked, saying relations between Kenya and Slovakia are based on mutually beneficial partnership and shared experiences.
President Kiska lauded Kenya’s achievement in the mobile banking sector, saying: “Today, it is easier to make mobile payments in Nairobi than in Europe.”
The Slovak President also commended the role Kenya has continued to play in promoting peace and stability in the region.
President Kenyatta reiterated that the visit by President Kiska – the first by a Slovakian Head of State to Kenya – represents a milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
He noted that ties between Kenya and Slovakia go back a long way, saying Kenya was among the first countries to recognize the Republic of Slovakia as a sovereign state following the peaceful dissolution of the former Czechoslovakia.