By Samuel Ouma
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Brussels for a two-day official. He is scheduled to meet the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to discuss Kenya-EU relations and address a Kenya-Belgium business forum.
President Kenyatta left Kenya on Sunday evening aboard a Kenya Airway aircraft accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Betty Maina (Trade), and Aden Mohammed (EAC) according to the State House.
On Monday, he held private talks with King Philippe at the Royal Palace in Brussels.
During his visit, Kenya’s Head of State will also meet with the Secretary-General of the Organization of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), Dr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, and an address to the organization’s Committee of Ambassadors.
Mr.Kenyatta, the President-in-Office of the 79-member OACPS, will discuss the progress of the post-Cotonou agreement with his European Council counterpart and get an update on the instrument’s rollout progress from the Secretary-General of the Brussels-based multilateral institution.
“We’ve had the Cotonou agreement which has been there for 20 years, coming to an end in 2020. We have negotiated another agreement between the European Union and OACPS, 79 countries, called post-Cotonou agreement, post 2020 so to speak,” said Kenya’s ambassador to Belgium, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi.
Prof. Kaimenyi noted Kenya is working on growing its trade with Belgium by addressing barriers such as double taxation and diversifying its exports beyond tea and coffee to include horticultural crops such as mangoes and other tropical fruits.
He added that President Kenyatta’s meeting with his European Council counterpart Charles Michel comes at the right time when Kenya and the EU are about to start negotiations for a new partnership agreement for the period 2022 to 2027. Kaimenyu said the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) would also be discussed during the meeting.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss the ongoing development of a strategic dialogue framework between Kenya and the EU.