Kenya's president flies to Mozambique to try and link the Swahili Coast from Maputo to Lamu
In 2017, President Kenyatta issued members of the Makonde community living in Kenya’s South Coast with national Identity cards and officially declared the community the 43rd Kenyan tribe.
Top on his agenda is to exploit blue economy, promote trade and enhance bilateral relations
The blue economy which has been highlighted as a key sector in manufacturing is among President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
Kenya will in November this year host a High-Level Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy.
Ahead of the visit, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma dubbed the President’s State Visit to Mozambique as ‘linking the Swahili Coast from Maputo to Lamu’ and bilateral talks will feature cooperation between the two countries in boosting transport links to promote trade as well as people to people interactions.
“Mozambique is a sea-facing country as we are. There has been a growing interest in the Indian Ocean Rim, which both Kenya and Mozambique are members. And so some of the discussions that are going to take place will be on how we can connect trade, how we can add value on our ocean, particularly on the blue economy,” said Amb. Juma.
Mozambique is officially a Portuguese speaking country but it’s President, Felipe Nyusi, also speaks Swahili.
“We have a long history with Mozambique. As you may know, even during the Mozambican civil war, Kenya played a key role in terms of helping to negotiate between the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO),” said CS Amb. Juma.
Amb. Juma also pointed out that the Kenya and Mozambique do enjoy cultural ties with one of the most recent Kenyan tribes, the Makonde, being descendants from Mozambique.
“We will be talking about how we can enhance this people to people diplomacy, people to people interaction but also a friendship that is historically rooted,” Amb. Juma said.
Trade between the two countries has continued to register steady growth over the years, with Kenya’s total export to Mozambique increasing from $ 6.61 million in 2007 to $ 11.8 million in 2017.
However, despite the two countries having signed a Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation agreement in 1991, trade volumes have remained below potential.
It is expected that President Kenyatta’s visit to Mozambique will stimulate new impetus for increased trade between the two countries.
Kenya’s major exports to Mozambique include prefabricated buildings, plastic items, animal and vegetable fats, tableware, kitchenware, fruit and vegetable juices among others.
There is potential market for Kenyan edible oils, tea, pharmaceuticals, beauty care products, packaging products, dairy products, textiles, apparel, leather products, construction materials as well as capacity to export services in general and professional services in particular.
Imports from Mozambique include sugar, molasses and honey, aluminium, coal and non-ferrous base metal among others.
While in Mozambique, President Kenyatta is also scheduled to give a public lecture at one of the special institutes of international relations in Maputo.
President Kenyatta will also visit a number of key installations including the Maputo Port with a view to expanding areas of cooperation between the two countries.
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