By NATION AFRICA
Kenya and Iran have signed five MoUs following bilateral talks between President William Ruto and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at State House, Nairobi.
The five MoUs will see both countries cooperate in matters of Information, Communication and Technology, Fisheries, Animal Health and Livestock Production and Promotion of Investments.
The signing comes after the postponement of a meeting between the two Presidents on Tuesday.
While speaking at the State House on Wednesday, President Ruto said he had a commitment from President Raisi to facilitate the export of more tea, meat and agricultural products to Iran.
Through Iran, Kenya will also be able to export products to Central Asian countries.
“It is encouraging to note that trade volumes between our countries have been on a steady upward trajectory. Kenya exported tea worth Ksh4 billion ($28.33 million) to Tehran in the first quarter of the year, which is an eight-fold increase from sales for the same period last year. Kenya attaches great significance to the Iranian market since it is one of the most valued export destinations for our tea,” said President Ruto.
He also explained that Iran had expressed interest in supporting young Kenyans to innovate and build their startup businesses, through the Iran House of Innovation and Technology.
This would also ensure that more Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVETs) are constructed to allow for both countries to exchange educational experiences, training, and access educational consultancy opportunities.
Mechanical and automotive sectors
Iran has also expressed a desire to set up a motor vehicle assembly plant in Mombasa County, thus supporting the mechanical and automotive sectors.
“Iran’s intention to set up a motor vehicle assembly plant in Mombasa to manufacture an indigenous Iranian vehicle that has been given the Kiswahili name – ‘Kifaru’. I reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to fostering and protecting all investments in the country. I have, therefore, reiterated to President Raisi that Kenya remains open and committed to receiving and hosting Iranian investors and businesspeople, and providing them with a conducive business atmosphere across the country,” added the President.
“As a global innovation powerhouse, Iran has made significant progress in the development and deployment of modern technologies in key industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and telecommunications. I have, therefore, invited wider and deeper collaboration in these and other critical sectors in the interest of our shared socio-economic and developmental objectives,” he added.
In a bid to create more jobs, Kenya will receive support from Iran to conduct research into the blue economy. This will include research into the fishing industry.
“This highly productive visit has been an excellent opportunity for us to renew and reaffirm the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity between the governments and peoples of Kenya and Iran. These memoranda will enhance and further deepen our bilateral relations for sustainable growth and development between our two countries,” he added.
Iran and the world
In a Twitter statement, and following the arrival of President Raisi, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Iran’s foreign minister stated that “the existence of a young population, good and warm-hearted people, has turned this continent (Africa) into a land of developing opportunities. Africa is biased to maintain political independence. The existence of a diverse export and import market is considered an important area of cooperation in Iran and the world.”
“It should be noted that even though this continent is historically facing numerous problems such as poverty and deprivation as the result of the rivalry between the East and the West, Africa enjoys untapped potential and unparalleled opportunities in political, economic, and cultural sectors. Such potential is so enormous that Africa is described in the global political literature as the “land of opportunities” due to its high economic potential and immense natural and talented human resources,” he said in an official statement.
He further added: “At the present time, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy is geared towards stronger interaction with Africa, and we are therefore trying to expand balanced and inclusive relations with African countries. It is hoped that in light of President Raisi’s Africa tour, grounds are paved for further enjoyment and expansion of cooperation between Iran and Africa, especially in trade and economy. President Raisi’s next African destination in the near future will be South Africa.”