Kenya and the Islamic Republic of Iran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on economic, scientific and technical cooperation.
The memorandum, signed by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amb Amina Mohamed, and the Iranian Minister of Agriculture, Mahmoud Hojjiati, highlighted trade and investment as a priority in enhancing cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking during the signing, CS Amina noted that the trade balance between the two nations is heavily in favour of Iran and underlined the need to bridge the gap.
“This gap could be significantly bridged through increased Iranian imports from Kenya as well as Iranian investments in Kenya,” said the CS.
Other areas of cooperation cited in the MOU include transport and infrastructure, energy, agriculture, water and irrigation, housing and health.
The signing took place at the conclusion of the 6th Session of the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation held in Tehran, Iran in the last two days.
Noting that Iran is one leading importers of Kenya’s tea, CS Amina lauded the increase in the volume of tea exported from Kenya to Iran from two million kilos to over 10 million kilos in the last five years.
The CS, however, noted that the volume is still low considering that Iran consumes a 116 million kilos and produces less than 20 million kilos.
“It is for this reason that Kenya is urging Iranian tea buyers to increase volumes of tea imports from Kenya,” said the CS.
“It is worth noting that quality of Kenyan tea is one of the highest in the world making Kenya the leading exporter of black tea globally,” she said.
The Cabinet Secretary further said that the agricultural sector offered other lucrative investments opportunities being the hub of Kenya’s economy.
“Kenya would benefit greatly from Iran’s experience in this area through skills transfer to boost and upscale our agricultural production as well as access your market,” CS Amina added.
On the energy sector, CS Amina highlighted the unfolding investments opportunities in Kenya following the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the recent past.
“The Government is seeking investment and expertise to build the necessary infrastructure to tap this resource. We invite the Iranian Government and the private sector to explore investment opportunities within the Kenya Medium Term Plan.”
The CS encouraged Iranian investors to take advantage of the agreements reached under the MOU to invest in Kenya adding that the country is open and safe for investments.
Speaking during the occasion, the Iranian Minister for Agriculture Mr Hojjiati said his country is ready to support Kenya in increasing agricultural productivity through training and skills transfer.
He further expressed the interest of Iranian investors in leasing land in Kenya for agricultural development.
“We are also looking forward to exploring opportunities for cooperating with the Kenya in mass construction of low cost houses in which Iran has wide experience and expertise,” added Mr Hojjiati.