South Africa’s Zuma concludes 3-day state visit to Nairobi

South Africa's Zuma concludes 3-day state visit to Nairobi

South African President, Jacob Zuma, has left the country after a three-day official visit to Kenya.

During the visit aimed at strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between Kenya and South Africa, the two Presidents, Uhuru Kenyatta and Zuma, held substantive and fruitful discussions on issues of common interest at bilateral, regional and international levels.

The two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the excellent cooperation that exists between the two countries.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of the agreements and Memoranda of Understanding including MoU for Cooperation between Kenya Investment Authority, and Investment South Africa; MOU on Police Cooperation; agreement on  Visa Exemption for Passport Holders of Diplomatic and Ordinary/Service Passports; MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Biodiversity, Conservation and Management; Agreement on Defence Cooperation and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Kenya and the Government of the Republic of South Africa concerning the development and implementation of LAPSSET Corridor Projects in the Republic of Kenya.

The two leaders also directed that negotiations towards the establishment of a Special Status Agreement be commenced between their respective Ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs. It was noted that once instituted, the Special Status Agreement will form the basis for the establishment of a Bi-National Commission.

While noting with satisfaction the vibrant trade relations between the two countries, Kenyatta and Zuma acknowledged that there remained an immense untapped potential to expand, both in value and volume terms, the scale of two countries’ commercial relations. In this regard, the leaders agreed to progressively remove all barriers to trade between the two countries.

The two leaders also addressed the Joint Kenya-South Africa Business Forum which brought together leading Kenyan and South African business representatives and witnessed the signing of MoU for Cooperation between Kenya Investment Authority, Export Promotion Council and Trade-Invest South Africa.

Further acknowledging that free movement of people was a pre-requisite for enhancing Economic ties, the two Presidents directed their respective Ministers responsible for immigration matters to resolve all outstanding immigration issues.

The two leaders further acknowledged the positive steps taken by both sides in this area and the immigration concessions made by the South African Government that included: a three year multiple entry visa for frequent travelers; a ten year multiple entry visa for frequent business travelers; a ten year multiple entry visa for Academics holding African passports; decrease of VFS service fees from $71 to $49; issuing of study visa for the duration of study; offering permanent residence to graduates studying within the critical skills category; removal of transit visas for travelers transiting through South African Airports.

The two leaders further noted that the ultimate goal in this regard, is to work towards achieving a Visa-free status.

Zuma was accompanied by a delegation consisting of six Ministers, senior officials and a business delegation.

Zuma invited President Kenyatta to pay a reciprocal State Visit to South Africa at a date to be agreed through diplomatic channels.

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