Presidents Kenyatta and Ramaphosa in key summit in South Africa

Uhuru Kenyatta and Cyril Ramaphosa

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa. The two leaders will on November 23, 2021 hold talks at the seat of the executive government in the Union Buildings in Tshwane, Pretoria. PHOTO | PSCU

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will today, Tuesday, host President Uhuru Kenyatta at the seat of the executive government in the Union Buildings in Tshwane, Pretoria.

President Kenyatta’s visit, at the invitation of Mr Ramaphosa, features high-level talks and will continue Wednesday with the exploration of possible bilateral cooperation on diplomatic, trade and health issues, including vaccine development and distribution in Africa.

The two countries share long-standing relations that pre-date Kenya’s support for the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa, said Mr Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

“The strategic partnership between the two nations is underpinned by common values and principles,” he said.

“Both nations are committed to democracy, good governance and respect for human rights, including the emancipation of women and the full realisation of gender equality.”

South Africa established diplomatic relations with Kenya in 1992, with a joint commission for cooperation agreement enabling high-level bilateral engagements.

Welcome ceremony

“President Ramaphosa will on Tuesday, 23 November, host a welcome ceremony in honour of President Kenyatta at the Union Buildings. The welcome will be followed by discussions between the presidents,” said Seale prior to the meeting.

“President Ramaphosa leads South Africa’s delegation to the official talks with President Kenyatta where discussions will range between bilateral, multilateral, economic, regional and continental issues.”

Seale added that memoranda of agreement on cooperation in international relations, home affairs and tourism were expected to be signed.

The two leaders will also address the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum to further explore new areas of economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Kenyatta’s programme will include a visit to Transnet Engineering, an arm of the national rail carrier, in Koedoespoort on the outskirts of Tshwane.

“This engagement will provide an ideal opportunity to showcase South Africa’s capability in the supply and maintenance of rail-related technology,” said Seale.

Covid-19 pandemic

The two leaders will also discuss the latest developments around the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including “the important matter” of vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

“To this end, President Kenyatta’s programme will include a visit to the Aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha (on South Africa’s Indian Ocean east coast),” said Seale.

The Kenyan leader will be shown South Africa’s technical capacity to manufacture and distribute vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for a global market in accordance with international standards, as well as to highlight areas of possible cooperation with Kenya, added Ramaphosa’s spokesman.

Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and South Africa’s largest trading partner in Africa outside the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

South Africa exported about $500 million worth of goods to Kenya in 2020, against imports from Kenya of about $22 million.

There are over 60 South African companies operating in Kenya, with investments in financial services, real estate, food and beverages, entertainment and hospitality, among others.

Beyond specific projects and programmes of mutual interest, the strengthening of political and economic relations between SA and Kenya is at the top of the schedule of the talks between the two national leaders.