Trade talk dominates Uhuru’s trip to Angola

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Eduardo dos Santos during their bilateral talks in Luanda, Angola. PHOTO/...
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Eduardo dos Santos during their bilateral talks in Luanda, Angola. PHOTO/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host José Eduardo dos Santos held talks in the Angolan capital Luanda on Tuesday focused on the rapidly growing trade and bilateral co-operation between the two nations, both ranked among Africa’s strongest economies.

The bilateral talks came on the margins of the 6th International Conference on the Great Lakes region (ICGLR) that Angola is chairing.

On the agenda was the easing of barriers to trade and business between Kenya and Angola, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, and which has a keen eye to diversify away from oil.

The two Presidents considered easing the visa regime to ensure that Kenyans have improved access to Angolan markets and in return, the country’s private sector can make the most of the opportunities offered here.

Angolans can access visas on arrival to Kenya.

At President Kenyatta’s request, Dos Santos said Angola would look to allow national carrier Kenyan Airways to increase scheduled direct passenger flights and use larger aircraft to replace the current Embraer and Boeing 737 that ply the route thrice a week besides launching cargo flights.

President Dos Santos said this would be possible when a new airport, currently under construction, was completed.

The Luanda meeting comes in the wake of a joint economic framework signed in 2014, which established the ground rules for cooperation in business and trade between the two countries.

Angola is Africa’s largest oil producer, and one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, its GDP rising to $124 billion in 2014, and growth averaging nearly 10 percent a year in the decade to 2015.

President Dos Santos said Angola was willing to exchange knowledge and experience in the oil sector, to help grow Kenya’s nascent oil business.

The country of 24 million, a net importer of consumable goods, is one of Africa’s largest potential markets, especially for commodities. Kenya, which is only four hours away from Angola by plane, is looking to supply tea, coffee, flowers, fresh vegetables, diary produce, and sugar to Angolan markets.

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