Kenyatta’s Ethiopian visit – highlights through 12 March 2014


Business dominates Kenyatta’s Ethiopia visit

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says his country and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to 'purchase power from Ethiopia and drive our economic development'. Photo©Reuters


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says his country and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to ‘purchase power from Ethiopia and drive our economic development’. Photo©Reuters

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to revive stagnant economic relations with Ethiopia during a visit aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two East African economies.

“I do hope during my tenure we will be able to achieve much higher level of economic engagement between our two countries,” he said at the start of a four day visit to Ethiopia on Tuesday.

We are here to see how we can fast track the implementation of Special Status Agreement between our two countries

The two countries have a defence pact, but economically they are on different economic trajectories.

Bureaucracy and stringent regulations in Ethiopia, make it difficult for foreign companies to set up shop, especially as repatriation of foreign exchange is controlled by government, and this has somewhat stifled trade between Nairobi and Addis Ababa.

But it is hoped Kenyatta’s state visit will give a Special Status Agreement (SSA), signed in November 2012 to improve economic ties and growth opportunities, a needed boost towards full implementation.

“We are here to see how we can fast track the implementation of Special Status Agreement between our two countries, which will open the door for much and increased economic activities,” the Kenyan president said.

As negotiations to improve on the SSA package continue, Kenya’s foreign minister predicts a more promising future in terms of economic relations between the two countries.

Kenyatta also revealed that the two countries have signed an agreement “to purchase power from Ethiopia and drive our economic development”.

Ethiopia has made huge investments in its energy sector as it aims to become a regional energy hub and major electricity supplier on the continent.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslagne said his country is ready to “work together to integrate the two nations in telecommunications, power, roads and railways infrastructures”.


Kenya invites Ethiopian firms to raise funds through Nairobi bourse


NAIROBI, March 12 (Reuters) – Kenya has offered Ethiopian companies a chance to raise funds and trade their shares on the Nairobi bourse in a move that could give them access to capital without compromising Addis Ababa’s closed economy policy.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange plays a key role in the region by dual-listing shares of companies already listed in neighbouring Uganda. In 2012 the bourse offered to help start a Somali stock exchange but the plan never materialised.

“Kenya stands ready to begin consultations for the regulations and guidelines that would allow Ethiopian companies to raise investment capital and trade at our Nairobi Securities Exchange,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told a joint meeting of executives from both nations in the Ethiopian capital.

Ethiopia, whose largest firms like Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines are owned by the state, is widely coveted by regional firms because it has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and a large consumer base of more than 80 million people.

So far the Addis Ababa government has largely rejected calls to privatise state-owned sectors and liberalise the economy to speed up growth which stood at 9.7 percent in the fiscal year 2012/2013.

“We are enthused by the possibilities for joint ventures between our business, and particularly by the potential for cross-listing on regional bourses,” Kenyatta said.

His delegation to Ethiopia includes executives of Kenyan firms like dairy company Brookside, associated with his family, Equity Bank and telecoms operator Safaricom.

Ethiopia and Kenya, which share a common border, signed a special status agreement in 2012, detailing various areas of co-operation in trade, energy and infrastructure.

Analysts said Ethiopia would benefit if its firms take up the offer to tap Kenyan capital markets.

“The advantage for Ethiopia for this arrangement would be the ability to provide companies with an inflow of capital without necessarily running the risks of an open capital account economy which Kenya is already accustomed to,” Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank said in a note to clients.

Kenya exported goods worth $53.2 million to Ethiopia in 2012 and imported goods worth $4.1 million in the same year, Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta’s four-day tour of Ethiopia is his second state visit, after China last August, since he took office last April. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Stephen Powell)


Ethiopia and Kenya deepen Bilateral Ties


Photo by Tiksa Negeri/Reuters: President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia

at the Ethiopian Presidential Palace on Monday, March 10th, 2014.



The leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya have called for the enforcement of a Special Status Agreement (SSA) signed between both nations in 2012 to be quickened.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is currently on a short trip to Ethiopia, noted that the agreement provides a framework for co-operation between the two nations “in key sectors of the economy – in trade, in investment, in infrastructure and in food security,” to improve the living standards of their citizens.

President Kenyatta further directed his Cabinet Secretaries to nominate experts to oversee the implementation of the agreement. He went on to highlight the fact that Kenya’s legal structure is conducive to the SSA.

On his part, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, voiced his government’s willingness to enforce the agreement. However, he noted that it is yet to receive parliamentary approval.

Both leaders also expressed optimism that another agreement which is expected to eliminate double taxation on businesses operating in both nations will be signed soon.

Ethiopia and Kenya established bilateral relations in the colonial era and have been one of the strongest allies in a region which has experienced several divisive wars and upheavals.

President Kenyatta noted that the sound state of the co-operative relationship between Ethiopia and Kenya has led to success in the construction of one of the largest projects in the region – the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET).

He disclosed that a co-operative framework agreement is currently being drafted, which will lead to the establishment of a joint commission to manage both nation’s shared river basins effectively.

The Kenyan leader also lauded the creation of a biennial ministerial commission to improve bilateral co-operation between both nations.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, who is part of the entourage of the president on his trip to Ethiopia, has revealed that “the volume of trade between Kenya and Ethiopia has been registering a steady growth over the years.”

Speaking at a forum for business leaders and government officials in Addis Ababa, she however noted that “there remains a huge unexploited potential”

“Kenya and Ethiopia are out to encourage the private sector driven growth, we acknowledge the fact that the private sector thrives on profits and the two governments therefore must facilitate repatriation of profits by businesses operating in either country and put in place mechanisms for avoidance of double taxation of incomes earned in one country by companies belonging to the other country,’ she said.

President Kenyatta and PM Desalegn expressed deep concerns for the security situation in Somalia and South Sudan, echoing their resolve to support the efforts of the Inter-governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) to bring peace to these nations.

Both leaders also relayed their willingness to collaborate in tackling many other issues including climate change, terrorism, corruption and cross border crimes.


President Kenyatta to business: grow jobs for youth


The President spoke in Addis Ababa, on the second day of his State visit to Ethiopia, at a Kenya-Ethiopia Business Forum that was addressed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn/PSCU

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Mar 11 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged Kenyan and Ethiopian private sector leaders to work together to grow jobs for young people in the two countries.

He said the burden of finding dignified work for young people falls heavily on the private sector leaders as it does on governments.

“It is your duty to work as closely as you can with us to employ our youth, and secure new markets for your goods and services,” President Kenyatta said.

The President spoke in Addis Ababa, on the second day of his State visit to Ethiopia, at a Kenya-Ethiopia Business Forum that was addressed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.  Leading Kenyan private sector figures including Chris Kirubi of Haco Tiger Brands, James Mwangi of Equity Bank and Betty Maina of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) attended the forum.

President Kenyatta urged Kenyan and Ethiopian business organisations to begin consultations to identify hurdles that need to be cleared to enhance business interaction between the two countries.

“The quicker they identify hindrances to the smooth flow of investment between the countries, the quicker both governments will be able to remove them,” President Kenyatta said.

He disclosed that Kenya is ready to begin consultations on regulations and guidelines that would allow Ethiopian companies to raise investment capital and trade at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

The President said Kenya is inspired by the possibilities of joint ventures between businesses, particularly the potential for cross-listing on regional bourses.

He said the Jubilee Government regards the private sector as a key centre of economic and social development and has built regulatory capacity through statutory bodies with sufficient legal powers to enforce fair trade and pricing practices.

“Equally, the Government has divested itself of its majority shareholding in state commercial companies through the Nairobi Securities Exchange,” the President said.

He noted that the divestiture programme bore fruit in improved corporate governance, as vital business decision-making and management instruments were left to the private sector.

Supported by a strong monetary and fiscal policy framework, President Kenyatta said the private sector in Kenya is now one of the fastest growing in Africa.

“This is the signpost that we wish to plant here today. In the hope that our experience would inspire your practice, I have with me in my delegation experienced private sector executives who will be pleased to share their know-how,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the volume of trade between Kenya and Ethiopia would grow to higher heights. In 2012, Kenya’s exports to Ethiopia stood at $53.2 million while imports from Ethiopia were worth $4.1 million.

Noting that development resources from international development partners are dwindling, President Kenyatta said Kenya and Ethiopia must embrace alternative means of financing vital development projects in priority sectors.

“It is time, in fact, to deepen our public-private partnerships and to make the private sector’s efficiencies our own. The prizes are growth economies, new jobs, and better public services,” the President said.

To mitigate challenges associated with high costs of production, particularly in energy, the President asked the private sector and business associations in the two countries to join their Governments in containing undesirable business engagements, especially those involving contraband goods and banned products.

“Your cooperation is to your advantage: you will protect the jobs that ultimately underpin your markets, and investments,” President Kenyatta said.

Addressing the Forum, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said he would do “all it takes” to promote trade between Kenya and Ethiopia.

He expressed optimism that special economic zones would soon be created on both sides of their common borders to boost trade and investment.

During the business forum, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce signed an MOU on promoting trade and investment between the two countries through people to people interaction.


President Kenyatta visits Ethiopia’s premiere automotive plant


Kenyatta said Kenya and Ethiopia should cooperate in technology exchange as the two countries enhance economic ties/PSCU

Kenyatta said Kenya and Ethiopia should cooperate in technology exchange as the two countries enhance economic ties/PSCU


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia,  Mar 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta, on the third day of his State visit to Ethiopia, visited the heart of the country’s automotive industry and said Kenya and Ethiopia had a lot to share in the motor vehicle assembly and aviation industries.


President Kenyatta emerged from a two-hour visit of the Bishoftu Automotive Industry and Dejen Aviation Industry convinced that Kenya had much to learn to lift its automotive sector and to rely more on its own resources.

He said Kenya and Ethiopia should cooperate in technology exchange as the two countries enhance economic ties.

The Bishoftu Automobile Industry – a State-owned premiere motor vehicle assembly plant – produces military, police and commercial vehicles, while Dejen Aviation Industry produces light aircraft, including drones.

The President was accompanied on the tour by some of Kenya’s prominent private sector figures including the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce Chairman Kiprono Kittony, Chris Kirubi of Tiger Haco Brands and Betty Maina of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

Others were Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo of Defence, Joseph ole Lenku of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Davis Chirchir of Energy, Eng Michael Kamau of Transport and Amb Amina Mohamed of Foreign Affairs.

The President also saw Ethiopia’s aviation building and technology assets, including unmanned aircraft and fighter jets.

He also watched a demonstration of an unmarked air surveillance vehicle, a major asset in Ethiopia’s anti-crime apparatus.


Ethiopia, Kenya agree on infrastructure development


Ethiopia and Kenya will accelerate implementation of infrastructure projects to tap the economic potential of the two countries.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that infrastructure projects linking Kenya and Ethiopia were key to the realisation of the ideals of shared prosperity of the countries, peoples and the sub-region.

In a communiqué issued after bilateral talks in Addis Ababa, the two leaders noted that the rapport between Kenya and Ethiopia had contributed to the progress achieved in the execution of the region’s largest infrastructure project – the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor.
Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Kenyatta lauded the promotion of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMS) to a biennial High Level Commission.
“This elevation will result in further enhancing cooperation to the ultimate benefit of the citizens of the two countries,” the communiqué said in part.
The Prime Minister and The President welcomed the enactment of the Special Status Agreement (SSA) signed in 2012. They agreed that the agreement provided an effective framework for economic relations between Ethiopia and Kenya.
Given the importance of the SSA in boosting economic ties between Ethiopia and Kenya, Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Kenyatta directed their relevant ministers to hasten its implementation.
President Kenyatta congratulated Prime Minister Hailemariam for his stewardship of the African Union during his tenure as Chair of the continental body.
“It was during this period that the African Union reinforced its role as the voice of the continent in the multilateral arena,” President Kenyatta said.
The two leaders considered the situation in South Sudan and expressed concern over deteriorating security in Africa’s youngest nation. They resolved to continue their engagement with all parties to the conflict through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Both leaders agreed that all parties in the South Sudan conflict should recommit themselves to dialogue and cessation of hostilities to give peace a chance.
President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam also committed to work closely under IGAD’s framework, in support of the people of Somalia in their quest for lasting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa nation.
Noting that stability in Somalia was vital for success in the fight against terrorism, the Kenyan leader and his Ethiopian counterpart urged the international community to support peace initiatives in the country.
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the security, common values and fundamental interests of the region. Together, they set themselves to combat the region’s difficulties, among them drought, climate change, terrorism, piracy, money laundering, human and drug trafficking.
Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Kenyatta also supported proposals to inaugurate a Cooperative Framework Agreement that would establish a Joint Lake Turkana, Omo and Daua Rivers Basins Commission to manage their resources to international standards.


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