- The eight agreements cover broad areas of cooperation between Kenya and Malawi including politics, diplomacy, defence, fisheries and aquaculture among others
- Kenyatta said collaboration and consolidation of ties between the two countries would guarantee socioeconomic growth of their citizens
- Previously, Kenyan industrialists have said they are seeking trade linkages that will allow them to establish joint ventures with Malawians
Kenya and Malawi have entered into new bilateral relations by signing eight new agreements designed to strengthen socioeconomic bonds between the two nations.
The agreements were signed on October 22 at State House, Nairobi at the end of bilateral talks between Kenyan and Malawian delegations led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Southern Africa counterpart Lazarus Chakwera.
The eight agreements covered broad areas of cooperation between Kenya and Malawi in politics, diplomacy, defence, fisheries and aquaculture as well as cooperative development. Others are technical cooperation in health and tourism.
Earlier, President Chakwera, who was accompanied by Malawi’s First Lady Monica Chakwera, was received at State House, Nairobi by their hosts President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in an elaborate state reception ceremony that included a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army and a 21 gun salute.
In a joint press address, President Kenyatta said collaboration and consolidation of ties between the two countries would guarantee socioeconomic growth of their citizens and the African continent as a whole and called for effective implementation of the newly signed agreements.
Noting that the founding fathers of the two countries were committed to and envisioned a truly free Africa, President Kenyatta said subsequent generations were required to innovate and transform their societies through economic emancipation and genuine political independence.
“Through the years, Kenya and Malawi have maintained a strong bond of friendship that has seen the two countries collaborate in initiatives aimed at securing the prosperity of our peoples.
“Your Excellency, our Founding Fathers were visionaries. In their foresight, they prophesized a totally liberated Africa, supported the liberation movements across the continent, and midwifed the establishment of the Organization of African Unity,” President Kenyatta said.
He noted that a strong Kenya-Malawi partnership would enhance the two nations competitiveness saying Nairobi was committed to working with the Southern Africa nation to ensure that the EAC-COMESA-SADC Free Trade Areas and the Africa Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) arrangements succeed.
“Kenya believes that these arrangements, if well implemented, hold the answers to our continent’s African Solutions to African Problems doctrine. Through these multilateral platforms Kenya, Malawi and other African countries have an excellent opportunity to explore tangible approaches to build strong and resilient African economies, post Covid-19,” President Kenyatta said.
At the same time, President Kenyatta expressed concern over the terrorist threats facing Mozambique saying Kenya fully supports the steps taken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) towards addressing the challenge.
On his part, President Chakwera regretted that the strong historical ties between Nairobi and Lilongwe had been dormant for a long time and expressed confidence that the signing of the eight agreements would help reignite mutually beneficial relations.
“I personally felt that bond of kinship when Your Excellency and I met on the sidelines of the Global Education summit in London of which Your Excellency was a great co-host. I also felt the same bond of kinship when I interacted with your Excellency and other Kenya officials at various forums,” President Chakwera said.
Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Defence), Monica Juma (Energy), Betty Maina (Trade), Najib Balala (Tourism), Peter Munya (Agriculture), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health) as well as Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua, and Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba attended the bilateral talks.
The deals come at a time when Kenyan industrialists have said they are seeking trade linkages that will allow them to establish joint ventures with Malawians, beating official and unofficial barriers to trade.
Data by Trading Economics reveal that Kenya exports to Malawi were US$38.67 million during 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
Kenya’s top exports to Malawi include pharmaceutical products, plastics, animal, vegetable fats and oil among others.
Meanwhile, Malawi exports to Kenya was US$67.86 million during 2019. Sugars and sugar confectionery, electrical, electronic equipment and wood and articles of wood, and wood charcoal are among Malawi’s top exports to Kenya.