Zim-Kenya deepening relations
Vusumuzi Dube in DAKAR, Senegal
RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and Kenya continue to be on a positive trajectory after Kenyan President William Ruto yesterday took time during the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal to pay a courtesy call on his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Mnangagwa.
The two countries have over the years enjoyed a cordial relationship mainly rooted in trade and investment, which also saw President Mnangagwa attending President Ruto’s inauguration in September last year.
This was the first time the two Presidents have met following President Ruto’s inauguration.
Speaking after a closed door meeting at a hotel in Dakar, President Ruto said the two nations would continue working on creating more co-operation opportunities adding that President Mnangagwa had since invited him to an investment conference set to be held in Zimbabwe next year.
“We had a wonderful discussion with President Mnangagwa. The interests of Kenya, the interests of Zimbabwe on matters of trade, on matters of investment, what we can do together about the young people, innovation, value addition of the products that we have.
“We also deliberated on issues to do with agro-processing that brings more value and creates opportunities for young people to work and we can do that together in the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Tripartite Agreement and Comesa network,” said President Ruto.
The Kenyan President said his government will also be working with Zimbabwe to see how they can assist Harare in ensuring the growth of the horticulture sector, an area in which the Eastern African country has recorded tremendous success.
“President Mnangagwa has invited me to an investment conference next year so that we can come along with Kenyan investors, people who can invest in the space of horticulture, in the space of agro-processing, value addition and a whole lot of that space.
“Hopefully, we can share experiences, learn from Zimbabwe and what Zimbabwe can learn from Kenya and how we can bring private players into that space and how they can then work together,” he said.
President Ruto also spoke on his country’s decision to grant 1 700 people of Shona origin, who settled in that country from Zimbabwe, citizenship, saying this was one of the major steps to show the rest of the world that Africa was united.
“The Shona community which we gave Kenyan citizenship are a great community. They came to Kenya many years ago and because they have stayed in Kenya, we decided that we are one people as a continent and that is why we gave them citizenship.
“They are free to now contest (for public office), vote, go to school and we look forward to building this continent into one family.”