Uhuru, Magufuli revive meetings to boost trade and development

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his Tanzania counterpart John Magufuli after addressing the press at State House, Nairobi [Photo/PSCU]

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli have agreed to revive meetings under the Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) to boost trade and development ties between Kenya and Tanzania.

Addressing the press on Monday at State House in Nairobi, after they held bilateral talks, President Kenyatta and President Magufuli said the two countries have directed their Foreign Ministers to organise a JCC meeting as soon as possible.

They agreed that the first meeting – that will pave the way for close cooperation in areas of mutual benefit to the two countries –be held in Dar-es-Salam at a date to be set by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Tanzanian counterpart Augustine Mahiga.

“Our officers should hasten the holding of this important forum.  I am confident that reviving these talks will strengthen our relations,” President Kenyatta said.

The last time the two countries met within the framework of the JCC, a framework instituted to prioritize matters of mutual bilateral interests, was in September 2012 in Kenya.

President Kenyatta thanked President Magufuli for honouring the invitation, saying the first visit to Kenya by the Tanzanian leader signified the warm and cordial relations that have existed between the two countries since independence.

“One can say without fear or favour that Kenya and Tanzania have shared principles that bind us together,” President Kenyatta said.

President Magufuli said Tanzania valued Kenya as a neighbour and a partner in many areas, saying his visit is aimed at cementing the mutual beneficial ties that date back to the times of the two countries’ founding fathers.

The Tanzanian leader praised Kenya, terming it “Tanzania’s leading investment partner in Africa”.

President Magufuli said 529 Kenyan companies have set base in Tanzania and invested $ 1.7 billion (over Ksh 170 billion).

“Kenyan companies created more than 56,260 jobs for the people of Tanzania,” President Magufuli said as he encouraged more Kenyan investors to Tanzania.

He also welcomed the revival of the JCC meetings, saying they will serve as a catalyst to the cooperation between the two countries.

President Magufuli commended President Kenyatta’s nomination of Ambassador Amina for the position of African Union Commission Chair and assured her of Tanzania’s endorsement.

At the bilateral talks, the two leaders also agreed that Kenya and Tanzania would cooperate more in the fight against terrorism.

“We have agreed that our security agencies will work closely to fight terrorism and share information and experiences,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya and Tanzania have also resolved to work together in infrastructure development for the benefit of the people of the two countries, citing the road from Bagamoyo in Tanzania to Malindi in Kenya and another one through Isebania to Western Tanzania as some of the key projects that are in the pipeline.

“Such projects will ease transportation of people and goods across our borders. This will improve the lives of our people and enhance integration,” President Kenyatta said.

The two leaders and their delegations also discussed regional peace and stability where they agreed to join hands in addressing challenges facing neighbouring countries.

The bilateral talks were attended by Deputy President William Ruto and several Cabinet Secretaries including Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) Joseph Nkaissery (Interior) Dan Kazungu (Mining), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Adan Mohamed (Industrialization) among other senior Government officials.

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