The government of Mauritius has lifted a ban on several Kenyan farm produce as it signed agreements to enhance trade with Kenya.
The ban on avocados, baby carrots, baby beans and broccoli was lifted during bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Wednesday.
The move by Mauritius comes less than six months after the Chinese government opened its doors to Kenya's fresh produce.
President Kenyatta stated that the lifting of the ban will help improve Kenya's export to the Indian Ocean Island country and is a major boost for horticultural farmers in the country especially women who are the majority in the sector.
During the bilateral talks, President Kenyatta and PM Jugnauth witnessed the signing of several agreements including the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA); an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA); and an MOU on Cooperation for the Development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Processing Zone in Kenya.
Other agreements were an MOU in the field of Tourism; an MOU in the field of Higher Education and Scientific Research and an MOU in the field of Arts and Culture.
President Kenyatta added that Kenya was 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,” he divulged.
He also pointed out that more bilateral engagements between Kenya and Mauritius would enhance existing cordial relations thereby increasing trade and investment opportunities.
He expressed gratitude that the Inaugural Session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) which was held in August 2018, has helped the two countries to deepen and enhance the scope of bilateral engagements.
President Kenyatta further stated that Kenya and Mauritius were well placed to collaborate in championing the development of the blue economy since both countries are littoral states with long coastlines.
The Kenyan Head of State stated that there was the 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,” Uhuru commented.
He invited Mauritian investors to participate in the Special Economic Zones which the government has set up at the Port of Mombasa and within the Export Processing Zones.
“As chair of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Mauritius can help steward the regional fight against piracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking, which are threatening peace and security in the Indian Ocean,” he added.
He further requested Mauritius to support Kenya's bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2021 to 2022 at the elections to be held this year.
“Kenya’s desire to be a member of the Council emanates from a strong belief that our solid record of continued contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security stands us in good stead to shoulder this responsibility,” the Head of State explained.
He affirmed that when elected, Kenya would strive to highlight common African Union positions and concerns within the security council, particularly as regards peace and security on the continent.
Prime Minister Jugnauth thanked President Kenyatta for the historic visit which makes him the first Kenyan President to visit Mauritius.
“The presence of President Kenyatta testifies not only the sterling relations that Mauritius and Kenya enjoy, but more importantly constitutes a statement that our two nations are irreversibly locked in a mutually beneficial partnership,” the Mauritius PM added.
He echoed Uhuru sentiments that the six signed agreements are core instruments for the promotion of greater economic cooperation and protection of investments between the two countries.
The PM said the signing of the Agreement on Special Economic Zones will lead to the setting up of a conducive framework towards developing centres of global competitive production in Kenya.
He said as an economic powerhouse in the East African region, Kenya is one of the main trading partners of Mauritius adding that President Kenyatta’s visit marks the beginning of a new era as the country prepares to start importing Kenyan farm produce.
“Following our discussions Excellency, we are looking forward to see Kenyan avocados in our stalls,” the Prime Minister stated.
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