President Uhuru Kenyatta, visiting Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and First lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi on June 16, 2022. Image: PSCU
Kenya and Zambia have agreed to work together towards removing barriers that hinder trade and investment between the two countries.
Speaking during a State banquet hosted in honour of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema at State House, Nairobi on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said his discussions with visiting President focused on opportunities to harness the strong bonds of friendship as well as business and economic ties including the removal of obstacles to trade.
“We have agreed to address the prevailing bottlenecks, including addressing ourselves to a few tariff and non-tariff barriers that bar our people from enjoying the freedom of trade amongst themselves,” he said.
Uhuru said he had also agreed with President Hichilema that the ministers responsible for trade of both countries will work together to expeditiously address the outstanding tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
He noted that Kenya and Zambia were among the first two countries to sign and ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“This visit is nothing more than a visit to reinforce and enhance the cooperation between our two countries as we seek to deepen that partnership for the mutual benefit of our respective people,” the President said.
He also affirmed Kenya’s commitment to working with Zambia and other African countries in improving the ease of doing business.
The head of state encouraged Zambian investors to not only make Kenya their investment destination of choice but also to look to their Kenyan counterparts as their investment partners of choice.
On his part, President Hichilema concurred on the need for Kenya and Zambia to work together in eradicating obstacles to trade and investment between the two countries.
He said time has come for the two countries to trade directly between them instead of passing through a third party.
“…how strange it is that sometimes we (Zambia) trade in goods from Kenya through Europe and vice versa. Really? Does that make sense? Absolutely not. That’s what we want to fix,” President Hichilema stated.
“So President Kenyatta, thank you for giving us this opportunity to advance that path walked by those who came before us. We know you are doing it for the people of Kenya, the people of Zambia and for Africa.”
The Zambian leader emphasised the need to ensure that the agreements and MOUs signed were implemented as the two countries move to redefine the way they work together to lower the cost of doing business between them.
Azimio La Umoja One-Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga, senior Government officials and members of the diplomatic corps also attended the State banquet.