By Samuel Ouma
Kenya and South Africa on Tuesday signed eight key bilateral agreements, ushering in a new dawn of cooperation between the two African nations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed the signing of the agreements shortly after they led their delegations in bilateral talks at Union Buildings in Pretoria, the official seat of the South African Government.
The eight agreements included a Memorandum of Understanding in transport, health, diplomatic consultations, training, and tourism and migration.
Others were a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and MoU’s on Government Printing Works and the return of nationals refused entry and illegal entrants.
According to President Kenyatta, the Kenya-South Africa diplomatic relationship of close to 30 years had come of age.
“In addition to strong bilateral relations which span a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners at the regional and global stage,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to work with South Africa to drive the aspirations of the people of the two countries through promoting the African agenda.
On his part, President Ramaphosa said President Kenyatta’s State Visit has provided an opportunity to take stock of the current state of bilateral relations and explore new areas of mutual interest and benefit for the people of the two countries.
Saying South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the people of Kenya for the unwavering support during the struggle for its freedom, President Ramaphosa emphasized the need to elevate the two countries’ ties to a strategic partnership.
“President Kenyatta and I have reaffirmed the strategic importance of bilateral relations between our two countries and reiterated our desire to elevate the nature of the relationship, which would include the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement,” the South African President said.
President Kenyatta is in South Africa for a three-day state visit.