Trade between African countries, regional security, United Nations reform agenda, climate change and economic development will form the fulcrum of discussions between President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria when the latter jets into Nairobi on Wednesday for a three-day state visit.
This will be the first visit to Eastern Africa for Mr Buhari since he was elected president in April 2015 and it is expected to build on a previous visit by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2013 and a visit to Nigeria by President Kenyatta in 2014.
Mr Kenyatta has been keen on intra-Africa trade and the visit is therefore expected to build on a total of 17 instruments of cooperation that have been signed between the two countries in the last three years.
“The visit will help maintain momentum in the development of bilateral relations registered in the recent past and also signify the solidity of our relations as it avails a unique opportunity to consolidate strategic partnership between the two countries and forge even closer ties in all fields for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries,” Tom Amolo, the Political and Diplomatic Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.
The two countries agreed to establish a joint trade committee as stipulated in the Bilateral Trade Agreement and, while its setup remains pending, its launch will ensure effective implementation of the agreement and address issues that may hamper full implementation of all other agreements aimed at catalysing trade and investment between Kenya and Nigeria.
One issue that the two presidents will aim to unlock is the agreement on avoidance of double taxation, which is crucial in safeguarding the interests of Kenyan investors and traders in Nigeria.
Another agreement to be discussed is the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes.
“It is expected that a decision will be arrived at for the launching of the Kenya-Nigeria joint commission for cooperation (JCC), an important implementation and monitoring mechanism for the agreements and MoUs (Memorandums of Understanding) that our two countries have entered into,” Ambassador Amolo said. “In addition, the streamlining of immigration issues, particularly the issuance of the five year visas for our businessmen, will further invigorate our trade and business ties.”
Kenya is keen to learn lessons in oil exploration. The two countries signed an MoU on oil and gas in 2014.
The visit will provide Mr Kenyatta and Mr Buhari an opportunity to exchange views to combat terrorism.