President Kenyatta on official visit to South Africa for talks with President Zuma

President Kenyatta on official visit to South Africa for talks with President Zuma
Photo credit: GCIS

12 Jan 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta on 11 January, 2018 traveled to South Africa on a three-day official visit that will see him hold talks with President Jacob Zuma to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas including trade, security and infrastructure development.

President Kenyatta is on his first Working Visit to South Africa since his inauguration as Kenyan President on 28 November 2017.

South Africa and Kenya enjoy very warm bilateral relations underpinned by strong historical and political bonds.

South Africa is a strategic partner of Kenya in many areas, particularly trade and security. Numerous South African companies have a presence in Kenya. They operate in sectors such as banking, insurance, accountancy, pharmaceuticals, retail, tourism and engineering.

The two Heads of State will also share perspectives on various issues of mutual importance, such as continental and international developments.

Presidents Kenyatta, Zuma hold talks ahead of ANC birthday celebrations

During the bilateral talks on Thursday afternoon, President Kenyatta and President Zuma reviewed the progress in the implementation of earlier signed agreements and explored new areas to deepen the fraternal ties between Kenya and South Africa.

Addressing the press after the talks, the Presidents expressed their desire to strengthen relations between the two countries for the benefit of their nations and peoples.

They identified trade and infrastructure as the pillars that would get more emphasis in the relationship between Kenya and South Africa, and discussed how trade and connectivity would boost industrialisation and also create jobs for millions of young people.

“Industrialisation is key to creating job opportunities for the youth and wealth for our nations and peoples,” President Kenyatta said.

Apart from the issues of trade and infrastructure, Presidents Kenyatta and Zuma also deliberated on regional peace and security, especially the South Sudan conflict and the “new slave trade in Libya”.

President Zuma announced that he would host President Kenyatta for a State visit later this year. “We will then conclude key issues when President Kenyatta is back later this year,” he said.

On the agreed visit, President Kenyatta said: “We have laid the groundwork for my State visit sometime in the first quarter of this year. We look forward to concluding and signing various agreements.”

Presidents Kenyatta and Zuma also said the relations between the two countries would be taken to “a new level”.

President Kenyatta will be the keynote speaker at the African National Congress (South Africa’s ruling party) 106th birthday celebrations on Saturday at East London’s Buffalo City Stadium in the Eastern Cape.

He will speak on issues of Pan Africanism, the role of political parties in promoting African democracy, unity, and self-reliance in a highly anticipated address.

Presidents Kenyatta and Zuma said the two countries’ ruling parties – Jubilee and the ANC – would begin working together.

“I am happy to participate in the ANC birthday celebrations. We want to see how political parties in Africa can cooperate,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta will meet Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded Zuma last month as party leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He will use the meeting at his villa to congratulate Mr Ramaphosa for winning a tight race for the leadership of the ANC presidency, and appraise him of key bilateral issues, including immigration.

Ramaphosa is a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and was the lead negotiator in talks to end apartheid and the writing of the country’s constitution.

The new leaders of the ANC, who were elected last month, have been holding various activities in the lead up to the Saturday celebrations.

Other dignitaries expected at the Saturday function include former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and political party leaders from the Southern Africa region countries.

President Kenyatta will also meet the Johannesburg business community; and the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen South Africa, Thomas Schaefer, who set up an assembling plant in Kenya in December 2016.


In October 2016, President Zuma made a historic State visit to Kenya which witnessed the signing of six agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in various sectors.

The agreements were on visa exemption for passport holders of diplomatic, ordinary and service passports, on defence cooperation, police cooperation, on cooperation between Kenya Investment Authority, Export Promotion Council and the Trade-Invest of South Africa, cooperation in the field of biodiversity, on conservation and management, and on Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Projects.

During President Zuma’s visit to Kenya, both leaders directed that negotiation towards the establishment of a Bi-National Commission be expedited to further bolster trade relations between the two countries.

In the area of Immigration, the two countries were able to resolve some of the key issues including visa requirements for Kenya nationals travelling to South Africa. Key amongst these was the acceptance by South Africa to issue visas on arrival for official delegations, and the issuance of a one-off visa tenable for the duration of study in South Africa for Kenyan Students.

President Kenyatta’s official visit to South Africa will also focus on enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the area of training. Kenya and South Africa have concluded over 16 instruments of cooperation, agreements, MoUs and letters of intent on training. Both countries cooperate in scientific exchange, agriculture, public health, law, education and military training among others.

On trade, President Kenyatta’s discussion with President Zuma will focus on bridging the balance of trade which is currently highly in favour of South Africa.

The two leaders will also explore areas geared towards increasing consultations on global issues that would be enhanced by increased contacts at the highest bilateral level.

Source The Presidency, Kenya
Website Visit website
Date 12 Jan 2018
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