Kenya and Djibouti today signed four agreements, including two on trade and visa exemption for diplomatic passport holders, aimed at boosting trade and deepening bilateral links.
The deals also include a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the livestock sector and an agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments.
The agreements were signed at State House, Nairobi, where President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who is on a three-day State visit to Kenya.
Mr Kenyatta said the partnership that has existed between Kenya and Djibouti has been strong and efforts were being made to make the cooperation more fruitful.
The Kenyan president, who spoke after holding a private meeting with his guest, said the two nations face the same kind of challenges in a region that has for decades been ravaged by conflicts and modern forms of organised crime like terrorism.
“We have talked about how to strengthen our cooperation and to secure our nations. Both our nations are in a very troubled region and we talked on how to secure the safety and prosperity of our people,” said President Kenyatta.
Mr Guelleh said Djibouti desires to strengthen its partnership with Kenya in developing the region and making it peaceful.
He said Djibouti and Kenya are working together to make Somalia peaceful to ensure that the security risk that its continued instability poses to the region is eliminated.
“We are in a troubled region where we are confronted by extremism and violence. That is why our militaries are in Somalia to help it regain stability because what happens in Somalia has an immediate impact on all of us,” said President Guelleh.
He said Djibouti, like Kenya, is sincere in its desire to make Somalia peaceful.
After the talks, President Kenyatta and President Guelleh, who arrived in the country on Tuesday, witnessed the signing of the agreements.
The trade agreement will open the door for more business between Kenya and Djibouti as it will act as a facilitation mechanism.
“The parties, for enhancing and facilitating trade between the two countries, shall grant each other the Most Favoured Nation Treatment in all matters relating to trade,” says part of the agreement signed on Kenya’s behalf by Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed.
In the bilateral cooperation in the livestock sector, Kenya will work together with Djibouti in expanding the livestock business sector.
Kenya will tap the experience of Djibouti in unlocking the potential in business in the livestock sector especially in exports to the Middle East.
The two nations will increase trade in livestock and livestock products. The agreement was signed on Kenya’s behalf by Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri
In their desire to promote greater economic cooperation, the two leaders also oversaw the signing of an agreement which binds both nations to protect private or public investment in each country originating from the other.
Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and Fred Matiangi (Interior and Coordination of National Government) signed the other two agreements.
Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries attended the bilateral meeting with President Guelleh and his delegation.
President Guelleh's visit comes hot on the heels of the two day State Visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.