Kenya and South Africa have signed eight Memoranda of Understanding that seek to enhance and broaden bilateral relations, trade and investments between the two countries. The signing ceremony was presided over by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa during President Kenyatta’s State Visit to South Africa from November 22-24, 2021.
The agreements were an outcome of discussions reached during the Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) held in Nairobi in August 2021 which reviewed the status of bilateral relations; put in place mechanisms for enhancing the relations; and undertook negotiations on bilateral instruments for cooperation.
The agreements signed included: Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Kenya and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on the Establishment of Diplomatic Consultations which establish and set guidelines for conducting diplomatic consultations on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, and MOU on Diplomatic Training, establishing a framework for the development of cooperation activities on foreign policy research and analysis, training of diplomatic personnel and exchange of information and publications between the Parties.
The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amb Raychelle Omamo and Foreign Minister in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Dr. Naledi Pandor signed the two MOUs on behalf of their respective countries.
Other instruments that were signed were the Agreement on Migrants Matters, Return of Nationals Refused Entry and Illegal Entrants; Health; Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA); MOU on Transport Related Matters; and Tourism. The two leaders directed the respective ministers to ensure implementation of Agreements and MOUs.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of the Strategic Partnership Framework between South African Airways SOC and Kenya Airways PLC during the Business Forum that details the roadmap leading to the creation of a Pan Africa Airline Group by the Parties.
Amb. Raychelle Omamo who led the Kenyan delegation during the JCC in August thanked her counterpart Dr. Naledi Pandor for her commitment to work together to take bilateral relations between the two countries to the next level.
On Trade and Investments, President Kenyatta and President Ramaphosa agreed that there is need to increase the volume of trade between the two countries that has averaged over 580 million US dollars and which is currently largely in favour of South Africa.
Towards this end, the two leaders committed to explore further measures that will ease travel between Kenya and South Africa as an important part of strengthening trade, investment, tourism and cultural ties. They announced that a presidential task force will be set up to address any visa related challenges and report back after six months.
“The task force will, as a first step, focus on easing travel by business community, students and those seeking medical attention, as they seek to find solutions for the bolder issues of easing visa restrictions within six months,” said H.E Cyril Ramaphosa.
Kenya and South Africa have enjoyed cordial and fraternal relations since the restoration of full diplomatic ties in 1994 when resident Diplomatic Missions were opened in the respective capitals. They also signed the Agreement on the Joint Commission for Cooperation in 2007, establishing a framework for political consultation.
“After close to 30 years of diplomatic relations, Kenya and South Africa partnership and friendship has truly come of age, in addition to strong bilateral ties spanning a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners at the regional as well global stage,” President Kenyatta said.
“It is only by working together that we can achieve the desired outcome for closer bilateral cooperation and strategic partnerships. We have today made great strides, however there is still scope to do even more,” the President added and reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to work together with South Africa in “driving the aspiration of our people through the promotion of the African agenda.”
He invited President Ramaphosa for a reciprocal visit to Kenya at a date of his convenience which the South African Leader graciously accepted the invitation extended to him.
Present were Cabinet Secretaries, Betty Maina (Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development), Eng. James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure and Housing), Hon. Mutahi Kagwe (Health) and Hon. Najib Balala (Tourism and Wildlife).