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Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck in Nairobi | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- ABOVE: Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck accompanied by Nigerian First Lady Patience Jonathan arrive at Hotel Intercontinental in Nairobi. RIGHT: Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck [left] is received by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State house in Nairobi during his three day state visit. XINHUA PHOTOS - CHARLES ONYANGO

Kenya and Nigeria confirm agreements to improve trade ties

By Chris Mgidu and Chrispinus Omar NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Nigeria on Friday signed seven agreements that will boost bilateral and trade ties between the two countries.

The agreements covered tourism, oil and gas, trade and investment; oil and gas, visa exemption for diplomatic passport holders; conclusion of agreements on double taxation; agriculture, livestock and fisheries; and twinning of cities.

Speaking after a signing ceremony in Nairobi, visiting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Kenya and Nigeria should expand ties which he said should go beyond primary production and work hand in hand to add value to their produce and encourage intra- Africa trade.

"Nigeria and Kenya are key countries in the continent and must work together for the good of the people of Africa," Jonathan said.

Exports to Nigeria fell to 33 million U.S. dollars last year from a peak of 37 million dollars in 2008, according to the Kenya National Bureau of statistics.

Similarly, imports declined to a mere 555,000 dollars from 1.95 million dollars over the same period.

The two leaders agreed to increase trade between their two countries, promote intra-Africa trade and expand opportunities for investment.

Both Jonathan and his host Uhuru Kenyatta directed the relevant authorities of both countries to immediately identify measures required to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade such as visa restriction and poor infrastructure.

The two presidents also asked the relevant authorities to expedite the conclusion of a draft agreement on immigration matters.

Nigeria has more developed banking, oil and gas industries while Kenya has a successful domestic service sector, including aviation, tourism and hospitality industries.

The Nigerian delegation which accompanied President Goodluck is drawn from different sectors of their economy, including agriculture, energy and petroleum, IT and Mobile Technology, food and retail, manufacturing, construction, tourism, mining, banking and aviation.

Kenyatta stressed the need for Kenya and Nigeria to increase the volume of trade between them, adding that currently intra- Africa trade stood at below 12 per cent.

"We look forward to strengthening the bond between our two countries and increase trade and investment for the benefit of our people, Kenyatta said.

He said with Kenya in the East African Coast and Nigeria in the West African Coast, the two countries stood at a vantage point if they worked in partnership to increase their volume of trade and investment.

Kenyatta said he looked forward to working closely with the Nigerian president and the government of Nigeria in uplifting the lives of the people of Kenya.

For his part, Jonathan stressed the need for Kenya and Nigeria to work together, saying this was critical in promoting trade.

"We believe that with Nigeria and Kenya working together we will not only help the two countries but also create a platform to leverage Africa on trade and investment," Jonathan said.

Nigerian president visits Kenya to bolster trade ties

By Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Nairobi late Thursday for a three-day state visit vouched to boost trade and bilateral ties between the two countries.

President Jonathan, who is accompanied by First Lady Patience Jonathan, landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly after 4.00 p.m. local time, where he was met by Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto.

The two countries are set to sign a series of bilateral agreements aimed at addressing the current challenges in their relations.

The state visit was initiated by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who visited the West African nation back in July.

The three-day state visit will also be Gookluck’s first visit to Kenya by a foreign leader since the new administration took over in April.

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohamed added that the accords will culminate in the establishment of the bi-national commission that will promote mutually beneficial ties.

"We will sign agreements on trade, double taxation, investment protection and narcotics so as to smoothen ties between the two countries," Mohammed told a news conference in Nairobi on Wednesday.

She said that both nations hold the same position on curbing illicit trade on contraband goods.

Mohammed said that lack of these agreements has in the past hindered trade between the countries.

According to government data, Kenya exported goods worth 33 million U.S. dollars to Nigeria in 2012 while it imported only 550, 000 dollars in the same year.

In preparation for the visit, Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry commissioned Ashanti Research to carry out a research on the level of bilateral ties.

"We want to ensure that we maximize the benefits of the state visit," he said.

Ashanti Research’s Director of Strategic Partnership Nasra Ali said that Nigeria has a population of 170 million population which constitutes a huge base for goods consumption.

"It also has a growing and sophisticated middle class that has a huge unmet demand for basic goods and services," she said.

Ali noted that Nigeria is also a gateway for at least another 100 million people.

"It therefore offers huge opportunities for Kenyan investors," she said, adding the two countries should strengthen the long standing cooperation in all sectors of the economy.

Nigerian tycoon to invest U.S. $ 400 million dollars in Kenya mining sector

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote on Friday said his business group will invest 400 million U. S. dollars in the mining sector in Kenya.

Dangote, who arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Thursday with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan expressed his readiness to invest in Kenya’s mining sector to help spur economic growth.

A statement from the Ministry of Mining said the Nigerian tycoon, who also has the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa, was issued with business licence during the transition period.

"Najib Balala (ministry of mining cabinet secretary) has welcomed Dangote’s move to invest in the mining sector and for their cooperation with the taskforce.

"The ministry of mining was ready to engage with the company once again," the statement said.

Early last month, Kenya cancelled all the mining licenses awarded in the first half of this year because of suspected corruption in their awarding.

The government has formed a taskforce to review the mining licenses and procedures with recommendations expected in two months.

Kenya has in the recent past discovered a range of mineral resources including oil, gold, and rare earths but experts urge that there is much more mineral wealth.

Balala had earlier said exploration of minerals in Kenya is hampered by lack of up to date and modern data on resource mapping which the country is now developing.

The cabinet secretary has also welcomed other investors with similar intentions saying the industry has full support of the government.

"He has asked other companies whose licences were suspended to appear before the Mohammed Nyaoga taskforce which recently got a nod from the high court to proceed with the review of the licenses, " the statement said.

The new Kenya administration has given mining a major focus.

For the first time since independence in 1963, the government formed a stand-alone ministry of mining to drive the efforts of making the sector one of the significant contributors to economic growth.

Kenya government is also seeking to develop capacity to develop minerals exploration legal capacity to ensure that contracts signed with investors are beneficial to the people of the country.


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