Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has brought Barbados closer to its goal of reshaping trade and economic development, through stronger collaboration between the African continent and the Caribbean, Prime Minister Mia Mottley has said.
As Kenyatta wrapped up his three-day state visit, part of a week-long Caribbean tour, the Prime Minister gave an assurance that the joint initiatives will not be left to languish.
Mottley said: “Our engagement with President Uhuru Kenyatta has allowed us to find a leader whose development perspective is the same as ours.
“This has been a highly successful visit and it is one that allows us to see clear progress forward.”
Along with the plans for a double taxation treaty, which is expected to be signed later this year, plans were made for an African-Caribbean summit and an open invitation was issued to Caribbean countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in Nairobi.
Barbados will also be visited by the governor of Kenya’s Central Bank as well as a delegation from its revenue department, to push forward the process on the double taxation agreement.
The Kenyan leader has agreed to finance the development of two acres in the international section of the National Botanical Gardens that is currently being built out.
Kenyatta held talks this morning with the representatives of CARICOM leaders on a wide range of areas, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Mottley later told journalists that the time has come to widen Barbados’ options for economic partnerships. She contended that the region’s challenges and threats were not dissimilar to those faced on the African continent, and therefore it made perfect sense to work together on common solutions and developmental instruments.
She said: “The meeting has enhanced our ability to be able to break new ground with respect to claiming our Atlantic destiny.
“Barbados, for the first 53 years of its independence, has had a development and economic model that is largely driven by our engagement with North American countries.
“This is proving to be problematic at times and we need to examine our options by ensuring that our engagements relate more to whom there is perhaps more common values and common mission.”
She added: “Our experience has shown us that our brothers and sisters in Africa, have had to face similar developmental challenges, having themselves being victims of colonialism and the slave trade.
“We believe that the under-development of our region that has been foisted upon us, is one that has equally been experience by the countries of Africa.”
Mottley suggested that in a post-independent era, it was Government’s responsibility to facilitate freedom of economic choice.
She said: “This requires that we re-examine who we trade with, it requires that we re-examine who our tourist will be, it requires that we re-examine how we invest our money.
“We must realise that if we are to put all of our eggs in one basket here in Barbados and we were hit by a hurricane, immediately all of our returns on our investment would be lost.” (CM)