Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is to return here next week as part of efforts to strengthen South-South cooperation between the East African nation and the Caribbean.
The president’s second visit to Barbados in two yearswas announced Friday by Kenya’s High Ambassador to Barbados Anthony Muchuri at a press conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Muchuri said during his stay, President Kenyatta will participate in high-level meetings aimed at forging stronger ties with CARICOM states.
He said while there was a perception that talks between Nairobi and the Caribbean had become dormant, contact had actually gained traction in the last 10 years and especially so since 2016.
It will be Kenyatta’s third visit to the Caribbean.
Ambassador Muchuri said: “It is against this background that President Kenyatta returns to Barbados to not only attend and hand over the mantle of the 15th Session of UNCTAD to the Honourable Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, but is also leading a strong business delegation to tap into new and emerging markets within CARICOM and further afield particularly in the fintech, geothermal, oil and gas, banking, manufacturing, transport and maritime, agriculture and the environment sectors.
“During the visit and consistent with instructions issued by the Heads of State and Government during the Africa/CARICOM Summit, a Memorandum of Understanding between Africa and CARICOM will be signed in the margins of the UNCTAD meeting that will set the foundation to establish the necessary key structures for institutionalizing this critical partnership to give effect and renewed hope in South-South cooperation.
“The Kenyan diplomatic outreach in the Caribbean is a strategic milestone in its long and determined effort to bring together Kenya, Africa and the Caribbean at the highest levels of government and policy making with the main objective of opening new frontiers in unity, trade, connectivity and institution building.”
Ambassador Muchuri said talks will also involve the possibility of Kenya’s biggest airline, Kenya Airways, starting commercial flights to the Caribbean.
Officials from Turks and Caicos-based InterCaribbean Airways and Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned Caribbean Airlines are to travel to Nairobi for talks on connectivity and the feasibility of commercial flights, said the Kenyan envoy.
During the press conference, Kenyan Defence Minister Ambassador Dr Monica Juma, who is vying for the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth, spoke about her bid.
She said she saw the importance of deepening South-South cooperation by strengthening the African and CARICOM relationship.
Dr Juma said vaccine equity was also a “very big issue” and one which she would lobby for strongly.