Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed in Kenya to bolster relations

President William Ruto received Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. [PCS]

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali is in Kenya for a two-day State visit.

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto hosted Dr Abiy and his wife Zinash  Tayachew at State House, where the Ethiopian premier received a 19-gun salute and inspected a guard of honour of the Kenya Air Force.

The two heads of government and their delegations held bilateral talks at State House before heading out to inspect the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) Suswa Converter Station in Narok County.

In social media posts, Dr Ruto said Abiy’s visit would cement ties between the two Eastern African nations, describing the long-standing relations of the neighbours as “the bedrock of our shared prosperity and regional stability.”

Ruto received his colleague at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday. They then officially opened the Samasource Kenya Export Processing Zone Limited, Nairobi Delivery Centre.

“Our intentional investment in ICT infrastructure will ensure that we turn Kenya into a skill-based economy. With the government’s bias on new and specialised domains, the youth will stay current with emerging industry demands, guaranteeing them income,” said Ruto.

On his part, Abiy emphasised the important role Artificial Intelligence would play in future, saying it was important to have a prepared youthful population.

“Data mining is the future. Today you are here just to get the dollar but tomorrow you will be protecting Kenya, Ethiopia and Africa because, traditionally, when we have been talking about protecting our sovereignty we talk about protecting our territories, but in this specific (digital) area, there is no territory,” said the Ethiopian leader.

Abiy’s visit, the first State visit since Ruto became president, comes amid intense lobbying by Nairobi for the African Union Commission (AUC) leadership chairperson role. Ruto is fronting former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to take up the Addis Ababa-based position and has been rallying heads of State and governments behind the idea.

Ruto and Raila recently met Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who reportedly committed to supporting the former premier’s bid to succeed current AUC chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, whose tenure ends later this year.

The visit also comes amid a push by both nations to improve trade and security ties. Ethiopia is keen on exploring a trade route through the Lamu Port, as stated by the country’s Minister of Transport Alemu Sime early this month.