Ethiopia, Kenya sign deal to bolster economic and security

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Nov 22nd, 2012

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn arrived in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Wednesday for talks with host Mwai Kibaki, on his first official visit since assuming the leadership of Africa’s third most populous country. The two East African leaders signed a bilateral pact to raise the profile of their economic and trade relations during a meeting, aiming to grow their trade ties and asked the private firms and state bodies on both sides to exploit the pact.

Prime Minister Hailemariam is accompanied by a delegation of Ministers and senior officials during the visit where he is keen on enhancing bilateral ties, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest, a communique issued by the State House said.

‘The two leaders hailed the warm and cordial relations which continue to flourish between Kenya and Ethiopia and noted that the visit by Prime Minister Hailemariam will further expand the scope of the longstanding ties.’

The Special Status Agreement allows the two neighbours to elevate their economic relations and grow trade and investment between the two countries.

The leaders called for the immediate commencement of elaborate mechanisms to give full meaning to the text of the agreement.

It was not immediately clear what the enhanced special status agreement means, but a number of Kenyan manufacturing companies have been keen on entering the banking and the telecom sectors in Ethiopia, which retains a state-owned monopoly.

Ethiopia and Kenya signed an agreement in 2011, to jointly cooperate in the construction of a US$ 25 billion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor project (LAPSSET), aimed at creating a major corridor to open up Addis Ababa.

A series of other projects, including an oil pipeline, a refinery and resort cities are planned along the way to boost economic relations.

President Kibaki expressed gratitude to the Government of Ethiopia for the unequivocal support the development of regional infrastructure in general in the spirit of shared prosperity.

The Kenyan leader said the Lamu port project would unlock the huge untapped economic potential of both countries, peoples and the sub-region as a whole.

Meanwhile, the two Principals lauded the vibrant Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) that has served as an effective vehicle for collaboration between the two countries.

Ministers from both sides concluded the 34th Session of the JMC which was held in Nairobi on 19-20 November, 2012, deliberating extensively on a wide range of issues of mutual importance guided by the necessity of further deepening bilateral cooperation between Kenya and Ethiopia.

The 34th JMC session adopted various instruments to allow for seamless bilateral engagement.

Key among these are pacts on cooperation in culture, education, science and technology, youth, gender and social development, public service, information, communication and media.

The principals witnessed the signing of six memoranda of understanding concluded at the diplomatic engagement

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