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Kenya, Mozambique strengthen ties to encourage more trade

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, and his Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday evening, 21 November 2018, challenged the private sector to exploit the huge trade potential between the two countries.

Kenyatta said trade between the two nations has been growing but at a slow pace despite the existing huge potential for growth. In 2017, Kenya’s imports from Mozambique were worth 31 million US dollars, while exports were valued at 12 million US dollars.

He said the two nations have, so far, largely traded in manufactured goods, an encouraging sign that Africa’s industrial sector is picking up.

Kenyatta and his guest, who is on a state visit, spoke when they addressed a Kenya-Mozambique business forum held in Nairobi. “Kenya and Mozambique are similar because they both work with the private sector,” said President Kenyatta as he encouraged the business community to take advantage of the bilateral agreements and favourable trade policies of the two countries.

Earlier on Wednesday, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of a deal that abolishes the need for visas for citizens of Kenya and Mozambique to travel between the two nations.

Kenyatta challenged Kenya’s private sector to diversify its exports, and to also tap into new investment opportunities that Mozambique offers, including business openings in mining, oil and gas sectors.

Kenyan cement companies have now started importing coal from Mozambique, which also has vast deposits of natural gas, indicating that trade between the two countries is growing. He also invited companies and traders from Mozambique to invest in Kenya’s expanding economy which is “open, safe and friendly for business”.

The two leaders said improvement in infrastructure will boost Intra-Africa trade, which is still very low. Kenyatta said he will work closely with Nyusi for the successful implementation of all agreements signed between the two nations.

Nyusi urged the private sector in both nations to spearhead the expansion of economic partnerships between the two nations, especially in sectors such as agriculture, agribusiness, minerals and tourism among others.

Meanwhile, President Kenyatta on Wednesday disclosed that Kenya is considering the importation of liquefied gas and coal from Mozambique starting next year through a government-to-government agreement.

Kenyatta noted the tremendous progress made in the growth of gas, coal and oil exploration in Mozambique, saying Kenya seeks to learn from Mozambique’s best practices including transfer of technology as it embarks on developing its own extractive industry.

He spoke in Nairobi as he addressed a press conference alongside visiting President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi after they both held a bilateral meeting.

As two ocean-facing countries, Kenyatta said Kenya and Mozambique have agreed to champion the sustainable use of the blue economy resources to accelerate economic growth and development.

The President further observed that the port cities of Maputo and Mombasa form an integral part of the trade relations between the two countries.

“I encourage our relevant authorities to work much more closely together to see how we can partner and develop our port facilities as a sure way of improving trade linkages between our two countries,” he said.

Speaking at the event, President Nyusi reaffirmed his government’s commitment to work towards enhancing cooperation and bilateral relations with Kenya.

Giving a highlight of his one-on-one meeting with Kenyatta, as well as the official bilateral talks between their two delegations, the Mozambican leader said their discussions mainly focused on economic and other areas of mutual cooperation, including tourism and the energy sector in which Kenya has excelled.

“We discussed important issues of our economy and finance, as well as issues of avoiding double taxation so as to facilitate trade for our business people and for the flow of business between our two countries,” he said.

President Nyusi is in Kenya for a reciprocal state visit that will see him attend the opening of the world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that is co-hosted by Kenya, Japan and Canada starting on Monday.

– APA

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