SA and Kenya commit to investing more in each other’s economies
President Cyril Ramaphosa stated on Tuesday that SAA and Kenya Airways had agreed to form a cooperation with the goal of forming a pan-African airline that would combine the two airlines’ strengths and advantages.
When Ramaphosa met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his delegation at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, they agreed on a number of strategic agreements.
“The decision of our respective national airlines to deepen their collaboration is further testament to the growing ties between our two countries,” said Ramaphosa during a joint media briefing. “President Kenyatta and I have reaffirmed the strategic importance of bilateral relations and reiterated our desire to elevate the nature of the relationship, which would include the conclusion of a strategic partnership agreement.”
Through the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding in the areas of diplomatic consultations and training, transportation and air services, health, tourism, migration, and the return of nationals denied entry, Ramaphosa said the countries broadened and deepened their areas of cooperation.
The encounter was used by the leaders to assess the state of their bilateral relations while also looking into additional areas of mutual interest.
Ramaphosa said Kenya was one of SA’s largest trading partners in Africa outside the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
“We are committed to increasing the volume and broadening the composition of trade between our two countries. We want Kenya to see SA as a growing market for goods and services,” said Ramaphosa.
He added that the countries will be working together to identify Kenyan export products for which there are great growth opportunities in SA.
“We are also committed to investing more in each other’s economies.”
As part of efforts to promote intra-African trade, Ramaphosa said the countries would continue to look for opportunities to procure goods and services from each other before considering suppliers outside the continent.
Ramaphosa acknowledged progress made in tourism and immigration, including the introduction of e-visas for Kenyans travelling to SA.
“We are committed to exploring further measures to ease travel between our countries as an important part of strengthening trade, investment, tourism and cultural ties.
“We are pleased to announce that a task team at the level of the two presidents, President Kenyatta and myself, will be set up to improve ease of travel and address any visa-related challenges between our countries,” he said.
Both presidents want an update on the matter within six months.
“Those that can be solved immediately such as business travel, medical and students, they should find solutions and have those implemented but in any event report back to us in six months,” he said.
During their meeting, the two presidents also reflected on developments in their respective regions, particularly in Mozambique, Sudan and Ethiopia.
“SA aligns itself with the Sadc position to support Mozambique in dealing with instability in the Cabo Delgado area. Sadc continues to be seized with the situation in Mozambique and a consolidated regional approach in dealing with the matter is being pursued,” he said.
Regarding Sudan, Ramaphosa said “we strongly condemn any unconstitutional change of government and call on all the parties to engage in constructive, good faith and peaceful dialogue to restore the country’s constitutional order”.
The presidents addressed the grave situation in Ethiopia, expressing “our conviction that there is scope for dialogue among the warring parties and that there is an urgent need for all parties to the conflict to commit to an immediate, indefinite, negotiated ceasefire and an inclusive political dialogue.”
Ramaphosa and Kenyatta reiterated that the need for long-lasting peace and security on the continent “has become more urgent as African countries operationalised the historic African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement on January 1 this year.”