KENYAN, TANZANIAN PRESIDENTS AGREE TO BOOST TRADE, DEVELOPMENT TIES

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania have agreed to revive meetings under the countries' Joint Co-operation Commission (JCC) to boost bilateral trade and development ties.

Addressing the media after holding talks at State House Nairobi Monday, the two Heads of State said they had directed their Foreign Ministers to organize a JCC meeting as soon as possible.

They agreed that the first meeting, which will seek to pave the way for close bilateral co-operation in areas of mutual benefit to the two countries, would be held in Dar-Es-Salam at a date to be set by Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (Minister) 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 his invitation to visit, saying the first visit to Kenya by the Tanzanian leader signified the warm and cordial relations which had 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 was aimed at cementing the mutually beneficial ties which dated back to the times of the two countries' founding fathers.

The Tanzanian leader described Kenya as "Tanzania's leading investment partner in Africa", noting that 529 Kenyan companies had set up base in Tanzania and invested 1.7 billion US dollars in his country.

"Kenyan companies created more than 56,260 jobs for the people of Tanzania," President Magufuli said as he encouraged more Kenyan businesses to invest in 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 Amina to fill the position of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson and assured her of Tanzania's endorsement.

At the bilateral talks, the two leaders also agreed that Kenya and Tanzania would co-operate 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 had 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 Kenyan 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.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK