Kenya and South Africa yesterday signed eight key bilateral agreements, ushering in a new dawn of cooperation between the two nations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed the signing of the agreements shortly after they led their delegations in bilateral talks at Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The eight agreements included MoUs in transport, health, diplomatic consultations, and training as well as tourism and migration.
Addressing the press after the signing ceremony, President Kenyatta said the Kenya-South Africa diplomatic relationship of close to 30 years had come of age.
“In addition to strong bilateral relations which span a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners at the regional and global stage,” said President Kenyatta, on the second day of his three-day visit to South Africa.
The President, once again, reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to work with South Africa in driving the aspirations of the people of the two countries through the promotion of the African agenda.
“…you will agree with me that it is only by working together that we can achieve the desired outcomes for closer bilateral cooperation and strategic partnerships. We have definitely made good strides. However, there is scope to even do better,” he said.
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At the same time, Uhuru commended President Ramaphosa for his exemplary leadership during his tenure as chairman of the African Union last year.
“The Africa Bureau that you led, and which I was delighted to be a part of, established the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for Covid-19 which continues to guide our successful response to the pandemic to date,” he said.
Uhuru further thanked his South African counterpart for the support that enabled Kenya to join the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member for the period 2021 to 2022.
On his part, President Ramaphosa said President Kenyatta’s State visit has provided an opportunity to take stock of the current state of bilateral relations and explore new areas of mutual interest and benefit for the people of the two countries.
Saying South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the people of Kenya for the unwavering support during the struggle for its freedom, President Ramaphosa emphasised the need to elevate the two countries’ ties to a strategic partnership.
“President Kenyatta and I have reaffirmed the strategic importance of bilateral relations between our two countries and reiterated our desire to elevate the nature of the relationship, which would include the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement,” the South African President said.