Kenya, Mozambique open up borders with new visa waiver
Kenya and Mozambique have signed a visa waiver framework, paving the way for free movement of people that will boost trade between the two countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi witnessed the signing of the key agreement at State House, Nairobi.
Addressing the press after a bilateral meeting attended by Deputy President William Ruto and other senior Government officials, President Kenyatta said the visa waiver arrangement will boost the two country’s people-to-people interactions as well as enhance trade and cultural exchanges.
The Kenyan Head of State announced plans to establish a consulate in Maputo early next. “I also reaffirm our commitment as Government to establish a consulate in Maputo, and once again my brother, I wish to assure you that we are taking the necessary preparations to ensure that this consulate is opened within the first quarter of next year,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta noted the tremendous progress made in the growth of gas, coal and oil exploration in Mozambique, saying Kenya seeks to learn from Mozambique’s best practices including transfer of technology as it embarks on developing its own extractive industry.
President Kenyatta disclosed that one of the proposals that Kenya is considering is the importation of liquefied gas and coal from Mozambique starting next year through a Government-to-Government agreement.
He said Kenya is also considering opportunities in aviation with a focus on technical training and the establishment of an aviation training organisation. “We are also exploring the existing potential in the aviation sector between our two countries that is yet to be fully exploited and which will enhance greatly our tourism and trade ties,” President Kenyatta said.
“As a nation we have the capacity to offer the requisite technical assistance in this field,” he added.
As two ocean-facing countries, President Kenyatta said Kenya and Mozambique have agreed to champion the sustainable use of the blue economy resources to accelerate economic growth and development.
The President further observed that the port cities of Maputo and Mombasa form an integral part of the trade relations between the two countries. “I encourage our relevant authorities to work much close together to see how we can partner and develop our port facilities as a sure way of improving trade linkages between our two countries,” the President said.
President Nyusi is in the country for a reciprocal State Visit that will see him attend the opening of the world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that is co-hosted by Kenya, Japan and Canada at Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
Speaking at the event, President Nyusi reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to work towards enhancing cooperation and bilateral relations with Kenya. “I want to tell you that this country is, indeed, a model economy. Under the administration of President Kenyatta, we have seen a lot of progress and prosperity with an impact on people’s lives all over. So it is befitting that we work with a Government that sets such a model,” President Nyusi said.
The Mozambican leader thanked President Kenyatta for the invitation and commended the holding of the first session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation between Mozambique and Kenya.
“Since its inception in 1991 it (the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation) had not held any session and now for the first time it held its session,” President Nyusi said. Giving a highlight of his one-on-one meeting with President Kenyatta as well as the official bilateral talks between their two delegations, the Mozambican leader said their discussions mainly focused on economic and other areas of mutual cooperation including tourism and the energy sector in which Kenya has excelled.
“We discussed important issues of our economy and finance as well as issues of avoiding double taxation so as to facilitate trade for our business people and for the flow of business between our two countries,” President Nyusi said. Confirming Mozambique’s participation as an active participant in Kenya’s Sustainable Blue Economy Conference starting on Monday, President Nyusi also invited Kenya to attend his country’s Blue Economy Conference in Maputo next year that Mozambique will co-host with the Government of Norway.
The Mozambican leader welcomed the signing of the visa waiver, saying it was a move in the right direction in bolstering the cooperation between the two countries.