Wed. Jul 17th, 2019

President Kenyatta’s visit pays off as Mauritius lifts ban on Kenyan farm produce

President Uhuru Kenyatta chatting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa outside Africa Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in one of the function of continental integration

BY MWAKERA MWAJEF

And PSCU

Kenya’s farmers are set to benefit after the government of Mauritius lifted ban on several Kenyan farms’ produce as the two countries signed agreements to enhance trade between them in Port Louis.

This means that avocadoes, baby carrots, baby beans and broccoli from Kenya will find their way to the Mauritius markets and dining tables.

The Mauritius move, precipitated by bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, comes less than six months after the Chinese government opened its doors to the Kenya’s fresh produce. The lifting of the ban, according to President Kenyatta, will help improve Kenya’s export to the Indian Ocean Island country and boost its horticultural farmers especially women who are the majority in the sector. 
The two leaders witnessed the signing of several agreements: the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Cooperation for the Development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Processing Zone in Kenya. 
Other agreements were MoUs in the field of Tourism, in the field of Higher Education and Scientific Research and in the field of Arts and Culture.  
President Kenyatta said Kenya is bound to benefit immensely from the signed agreements and MOU’s as they would help the country achieve its development goals particularly in manufacturing and job creation. 
“Both countries can benefit from the proximity of each other to foster closer cooperation across many areas. I welcome the conclusion and signing of agreements in six areas during this state visit,” Mr Kenyatta said. 
The bilateral engagements between Kenya and Mauritius will enhance existing cordial relations thereby increasing trade and investment opportunities, financial services, agriculture, transport and communication, and in culture, education, tourism and research.
Saying Kenya and Mauritius are well placed to collaborate in championing the development of the blue economy since both countries are littoral states with long coastlines, the President said there is need for the two countries to explore ways of enhancing cooperation in maritime transport by linking Port Louis to the Port of Mombasa as a catalyst for growing business and trade between Kenya and Mauritius. 
“Kenya is making good progress in developing the Port of Lamu as part of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project, I look forward to Mauritius sharing in the dividends that will accrue from the transport infrastructure once it is complete,” he added.  
The President said collaboration in EPZ will be enhanced through sharing of best practices and in the development of an integrated regional value chain in the textile sector. 
He called on the Mauritius government to partner with Kenya in combating transnational crimes which are a threat to peace and  security in the Indian ocean as well as piracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
Making a formal request on Kenya’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2021-2022, Mr Kenyatta appealed for support saying its solid record of continued contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security stood a good stead to shoulder this responsibility. 
Thanking his visitor, Prime Minister Jugnauth said his presence testifies not only the sterling relations that Mauritius and Kenya enjoy, but more importantly the two nations are irreversibly locked in a mutually beneficial partnership. 
Kenya being an economic power house in the East African region, the minster added it is one of the main trading partners of Mauritius and his visit marks the beginning of a new era as the country prepares to start importing Kenyan farm produce.
Those who accompanied President Kenyatta are Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and Prof. George Magoha (Education) among other senior government officials.

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