President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have said there is need for the two governments to boost trade, movement of goods and people of the two nations.
Addressing the press after a closed-door meeting in East London, South Africa, the two leaders said Africans have a common heritage, which needs to be exploited for their benefit.
President Kenyatta said the two countries are not in competition, but in a partnership that complements each other in improving the lives of their citizens.
“The fate of Africa is tied at the hip and the relationships should foster partnerships that are beneficial to the citizens,” President Kenyatta said.
He said there is need for the two countries to work together and enable the people to interact and do business.
“Political parties are the key engine in ensuring people-to-people connection,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta congratulated Mr Ramaphosa on his election as president of the African National Congress, and commended him for his message of unity within the party and the country.
The President commended the ANC leader for following in the footsteps of the founding fathers of the ruling party, saying the message of unity resonates well with their ideals.
President Kenyatta said they discussed various issues aimed at seeking to foster prosperity and movement of the people of the two countries.
Mr Ramaphosa said ties between the two countries can be boosted by opening doors to the citizens to travel and do business without impediment.
“South Africa should open doors for Kenyans and Kenya should open doors for South Africans,” he said.
He said the two countries have a lot to share in exploitation and development of natural resources for the benefit of their citizens.
“We have a common heritage as people of Africa. What we need to do is to develop that relationship to a higher level to benefit our peoples and countries,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
He cited agriculture and renewable energy, saying Kenya has made great strides in the two sectors, and South Africa can learn a lot from it.
On its part, South Africa has a long history of mining gold and diamonds, among other minerals, and Kenya can gain a lot from the experience and expertise.
Mr Ramaphosa said the exploitation of natural resources would create job opportunities for the youth.
Later President Kenyatta met officials of the African National Congress (ANC).
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party was represented by vice chairman David Murathe and Secretary General Raphael Tuju, while ANC Deputy President David Mabuza led his party team.
Prior to President Kenyatta’s arrival in East London, Mr Ramaphosa spoke to journalists about what would be covered in his presentation of the ANC’s programme for the year, which is traditionally laid out during the ruling party’s birthday celebrations.
He emphasised that the new ANC leadership was acutely aware that it needed a programme of renewal so that South Africans could again trust that it was fit to rule the country.
Mr Ramaphosa was referencing next year’s national elections which, on current trends, the ANC will have a tough time winning due to the many scandals it has endured under Zuma’s presidency.
The ANC president said the party was focusing on re-establishing itself with its electorate as well as on land redistribution, economic growth to create more jobs and education as its main priorities.
Additional report by Chris Erasmus.