Kenya, Czech sign deals in security, biodiversity conservation

President William Ruto hosted Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala at State House Nairobi. [PCS]

Kenya and the Czech Republic have agreed to enhance trade and investments.

Speaking at State House, Nairobi, today, the Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President William Ruto said the two nations stand to gain from enhanced cooperation to expand commercial; exchange and improve the balance of trade.

"In our bilateral meeting today, we held in-depth discussions on ways of enhancing trade and investment to explore the huge untapped investment opportunities in Kenya," Ruto said.

The President further urged the Czech Republic to consider establishing a hub in Nairobi and use it as a gateway to the region.

"We have agreed to establish a business council which will serve as a platform for bilateral talks for the private sector consultations and engagements. Further let's use Kenya's geostrategic advantage as a gateway for the broader regional and continental engagement in terms of trade and investments." he said.

Ruto said the partnership will witness higher levels of commercial and trade activities that will spur increased investment from Czech companies into Kenya in diverse fields of our economy.

"The Africa Continental Free Trade Area, a market of 1.3 billion people, is currently being organised, and Kenya's vantage position will afford Czechia companies unimpeded access. In conjunction with Kenya's ratification of the EU Economic Partnership Agreement, Kenya offers a compelling array of benefits unmatched in the region," he said

It was also revealed that Kenya and the Czech Republic are working in concert on biodiversity conservation deals, in particular, on saving the Northern White Rhino from extinction in collaboration with the Ol Pajeta Conservancy in Nanyuki.

The two have also partnered on security and defence policy and programmes which reflects high levels of mutual trust the two countries.

The Prime Minister who is on a three-day official visit promised to ensure that Czech companies invest heavily in Kenya and further ease the trade relations between the two nations.

"I hope official contact will be frequent. I want to see you (Ruto) in Prague soon," he said.

Earlier the President witnessed the launch of the of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at Strathmore University Nairobi which he said will increase intra-Africa trade thereby creating jobs and wealth for the people.

"We are at a historic juncture in world development, in which Africa, at long last, is emerging as a focal point of important global strategic agendas with tremendous political, security, environmental and, most importantly, economic implications," he said

The Head of State noted that Africa has continued to rank at the bottom when it comes to participating, contributing and competing in the global economy relative to other regional blocs as it accounts for only 3 per cent of global trade, because a stronger performance is prevented by disjointed and fragmented markets.

He also said structural deficiencies and historical legacies, which undermined sound institutional development, impede efficiency and limit the possibility of robust economic growth and transformation.

"Although politically sovereign, economically, we have been trapped in the vicious cycle of underdevelopment and poverty, now compounded by an inescapable debt trap and a runaway climate crisis," he said

"The time for Africa's economic transformation and industrialisation has come and we must execute a transition from merely supplying world markets with raw commodities to broad spectrum of value-added contributions, including tradeable services," he added.

"Africa must also embrace the rapidly evolving digital technologies, to accelerate economic growth and create employment opportunities for the continent's burgeoning youthful population."