Kenya and Burundi to strengthen bilateral ties, pursue common agenda


President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Burundi Head of State Evariste Ndayishimiye
President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and visiting Burundi Head of State Evariste Ndayishimiye. PHOTO | PSCU

Kenya and Burundi on Monday signed several agreements aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two East African nations.

The cooperation agreements on agriculture, public service, foreign affairs, trade, sports and culture were signed in Kisumu at the start of a two-day State Visit to Kenya by President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi.

The Burundi leader, who is accompanied by First Lady Angeline Ndayubaha Ndayishimiye, arrived in the country Monday morning and was received by his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

Addressing the press shortly after leading their respective delegation in bilateral talks, President Kenyatta said the two countries have agreed to strengthen and deepen their long-standing fraternal relations with the aim of fostering sustained socio-economic development.

“The cooperation between our two countries is built on a solid foundation of shared values and principles; to foster sustained socio-economic development and transformation of our two countries, a vibrant and united East African Community, and an integrated and prosperous Africa,” President Kenyatta.

The Kenyan leader said that there are enormous untapped business opportunities between Bujumbura and Nairobi, and directed relevant ministries to review and address bottlenecks inhibiting growth of trade and investment between the two East African countries.

President Kenyatta announced a resolution by Kenya and Burundi to prioritise education in their post-Covid-19 recovery plans, and that the two countries would back the 4th replenishment campaign of the Global Partnership Education (GPE), which aims to raise at least USD5 billion for investment in education.

President Kenyatta and his Burundi counterpart said they will continue working together in advancing the African agenda on the global stage, and reiterated their countries commitment to the progress of the East African Community (EAC).

“On regional cooperation, we exchanged views on various development matters in the East African Community (EAC); and reaffirmed our commitment to continue working together in championing the EAC integration agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.

“On international cooperation, we reiterated our commitment to continue working closely at the level of the United Nations (UN), with a view to advancing the Common African Agenda for Integration and Sustainable Development,” President Kenyatta said.

As part of efforts to strengthen Kenya-Burundi bilateral ties, the two leaders agreed to review the 2018 Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation agreement with a view of ensuring expeditious implementation of agreed upon agreements.

On his part, President Ndayishimiye expressed his gratitude to President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya for the role the country played in stabilizing Burundi through international peace-keeping efforts, as well as through trade facilitation.

“We are enjoying the ties between our two countries both in investments and trade. I recall the role Kenya played in peace keeping in Burundi and the facilitation of trade through the port of Mombasa, and Kenyan investors already working in Burundi,” the Burundi leader said.

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