Ethiopian PM, Djibouti President expected in Kenya for state visits

State House Kenya spokesperson Manoah Esipisu has said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy will arrive in the country later on Sunday at the start of a two-day state visit to bolster relations between Kenya and Ethiopia.

“It is the Prime Minister’s first foreign trip since he took office in April of this year, and we feel deeply honoured that he chose Kenya for this,” Esipisu said during a press briefing in Nairobi.

Kenyatta is expected to formally receive Prime Minister Abiy on Monday morning, where bilateral and regional issues will dominate their discussions.

Esipisu said Kenya and Ethiopia have enjoyed strong bilateral relations, deepened further by the Special Status Agreement between the two countries.

He pointed out that Kenya and Ethiopia are key partners in security and peace in the region, and have both committed time and resources in the fight against terrorism, as well as the fight to bring Somalia to sustainable peace, and the initiatives to find a lasting solution to the challenges in South Sudan.

“Some matters of particular interest to us are boosting economic partnerships, and boosting participation in trade and investment by our private sector,” he said.

“Therefore, the leaders are likely to review how the implementation of the Special Partnership Agreement is progressing, and possibly agree on how to accelerate that,” Esipisu added.

He said areas of attention will include seeking special consideration for Kenyan investors who want to participate in Ethiopia’s financial sector and collaboration in promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Coming hot on the heels of the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s state visit will be a similar visit by Djibouti President Guelleh.

"On May 9 and 10, President Kenyatta will welcome the President of the Horn of Africa state of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, on the second state visit of the week. This visit is to bolster bilateral relations between the two countries,” Esipisu said.

He said the focus areas of discussion between Presidents Kenyatta and Guelleh will be cooperation in trade, livestock management, vocational training, promotion and protection of investment and exemption of visa for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

Additional areas of discussion between the two leaders include partnership in the tourism sector, geothermal energy and expansion of bilateral trade and investment.

Collaboration in the air transport sector by increasing Kenya Airways passenger flights to Djibouti and introduction of cargo flights to increase the volume of trade in Kenya’s assorted agricultural products, including coffee and tea, among others, will also feature in the talks.

Kenya’s exports to Djibouti include petroleum and bituminous products, tea and soap. Medicines, especially for vet purposes, also remain a common export between the two countries in the last five years.

JK/afm/APA

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