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Kenya, Lesotho sign 3 key deals to ramp up bilateral ties

Monday November 11 2019

Kenya and Lesotho deals signing

President Uhuru Kenyatta (back R) and Lesotho Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane look on as Treasury CS Ukur Yatani (R) and a Lesotho government representative exchange documents after the signing of three pacts on November 11, 2019. PHOTO | PSCU 

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Kenya and the Kingdom of Lesotho on Monday signed three key pacts geared towards boosting their cooperation.

The countries signed a deal on establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), a Memorandum of Understanding for bilateral consultations and another memorandum in the field of sports.

The deals were signed at State House in Nairobi at the end of talks held between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Lesotho Prime Minister Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane.

Dr Thabane, who arrived on Sunday evening for a three-day state visit, was formally received on Monday morning at a colourful ceremony that included a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army and a 19-gun salute.

The elaborate state reception ceremonies were followed by a private meeting between the two leaders before they led their delegations in talks that culminated in the signing.

STRONG ALLIES

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The JCC agreement will enable the countries to identify and explore areas of cooperation while the MoU on sports will provide an opportunity for development of sports as an economic activity.

The agreement on bilateral consultations will pave the way for the two countries to hold consultations on bilateral and multilateral matters affecting both countries at regional, continental and global levels.

Addressing the press after the bilateral talks, President Kenyatta said Lesotho continues to be one of Kenya's strongest allies on the global stage.

“Your endorsement of Kenya as the Africa Union's candidate for the non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 term is affirmation of the strong relations between our countries,” he told the PM.

He said the signing marked the beginning of a new chapter of the nations' cooperation.

The President pointed out that the sports MoU will see the two countries enhance cooperation in training and application of sports operations.

He added that the conclusion of a framework for bilateral cooperation and political consultations will bolster political, diplomatic and trade relations through regular, structured engagements and strategic cooperation.

“I, therefore, urge our teams to work expeditiously to ensure negotiations are completed and that the framework is put in place,” he said.

BIG FOUR

The Kenyan Head of State further said Kenya is keen on learning from Lesotho how to developing the textile sector as it implements the Big Four agenda.

The pillars of the agenda are manufacturing, food security, universal health coverage and affordable housing.

Lesotho has one of the most vibrant textile sectors in Africa, with a growing share of the global apparel market.

President Kenyatta emphasised that Kenya is on the verge of reviving its textile industry, which has the potential to create high value jobs to help address the challenge of unemployment.

“We recognise Lesotho has deployed technology, utilised branding and used market positioning to develop one of the best textile industries in Africa,” he said.

UHURU PRAISED

Prime Minister Thabane praised President Kenyatta’s leadership, saying he looks forward to enhancing ties between their countries.

“I know you to be a good man and I encourage you to continue to be a good man. I know you to be a generous person and I encourage you to continue to be a generous person. I know you to be my friend and I want you to continue to be my friend,” the PM told the President.

Dr Thabane will lay a wreath at the mausoleum of Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi and visit the United Nations complex in Gigiri.