Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kenya, Malawi seek closer trade ties

President Kibaki and his Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda during the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of West Bypass in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

President Kibaki and his Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda during the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of West Bypass in Lilongwe on Wednesday.  Photo/PPS

By PPS

President Kibaki has urged agricultural stakeholders in Kenya and Malawi to share experiences in farming methods to boost production.

The President said sharing experiences would greatly enhance production since both countries were agriculture-based economies.

“I emphasise this, noting the exemplary success that Malawi has demonstrated in ensuring food security for its citizens and also in recognition of Kenya’s development of agricultural production in various sectors such as tea, coffee, horticulture, aquaculture and dairy farming,” he said.

Speaking during a banquet hosted by Malawian President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe on Wednesday, the Kenyan leader said the two countries should exploit bilateral and multilateral trade under the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation and Comesa.

He urged the private sectors of Kenyan and Malawi to identify new areas of collaboration while developing the existing ones.

He noted that Kenya and Malawi had shared warm relations for many years.

“We will continue to stand with you in efforts to address the continuing challenges to peace, security and development in our region for the common benefit of our citizens,” he said.

He continued: “My current visit is being undertaken in line with these fond relations and aims to revitalise our collaboration in various spheres.”

President Kibaki welcomed Malawi’s decision to reopen its diplomatic mission in Kenya after about seven years.

He said the government would ensure that the Malawian diplomatic property in Nairobi was back in place to fast-track the reopening of the mission.

For her part, President Banda said her government was committed to reopening its mission in Nairobi as soon as possible.

She said Malawi had a lot to learn from Kenya’s radical economic and infrastructure transformation.

President Banda cited women empowerment, development of the tourist industry, poverty eradication and generation of foreign exchange through the participation of the diaspora as some of the key lessons the southern African country could learn from Kenya.

She noted that her government had created a National Commission for Gender Equality and established a women’s fund.

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