H.E Dr. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Republic of Kenya was in Islamabad on a historic visit to Pakistan to inaugurate the newly built Kenyan High Commission at the Diplomatic Enclave. She also held meetings with officials of the country. This was her first visit to Pakistan after assuming charge as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya earlier this year. MsJuma possesses significant experience of serving at the highest and at the most prestigious positions. During her visit to Pakistan, she met with Prime Minister Shahid KhaqanAbassi and with Foreign Secretary MsTehmina Janjua to discuss bilateral ties and to take the bilateral relationship forward.
During the meetings, both sides discussed bilateral matters, and regional and international issues of mutual concern. The visiting Foreign Minister also deliberated over measures that could enhance and diversify bilateral trade and improve economic relations. It is important to note here that Prime Minister Abassi met with the President of Kenya on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in the UK earlier this month.
The Kenyan foreign minister’s visit is a significant step in promoting bilateral relations between Kenya and Pakistan. Both states enjoy friendly ties with each other that span several decades and are based on deeply rooted historical ties. While having similar views on different global issues, both states support and cooperate with each other in various fields such as trade, investment, education, counter terrorism, tourism, cultural diplomacy and wildlife.
H.E Dr. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Republic of Kenya and H.E Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister for Commerce and Textile, Islamic Republic of Pakistan co-chaired the conference and had a meeting on 2nd May, 2018 at Karachi. Around 40 delegates from public and private sector of Kenya and H.E Joseph Bitok, High Commissioner of Kenya and diplomats, attended the conference along with over 150 Pakistani businessmen and officials from Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Board of Investment, Department of Plant Protection etc. The Conference has been organized under Look Africa Policy Initiative of Ministry of Commerce. H.E Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister for Commerce and Textile, Islamic Republic of Pakistan emphasized that Pakistan and Kenya have been enjoying cordial business and trade relations. The trade volume of two countries stood at US$ 748.37Million in 2016-17 however, both countries need to focus on the opportunities to diversify trade. Main commodities traded are rice and tea. The two commodities dominate the total trade with rest of the products having little share. Pakistan is the largest importer of Kenyan tea in the world. Similarly, Kenya is also biggest buyer of Pakistan rice. H.E Dr. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Republic of Kenya elaborated that Kenya desires to have close economic partnership with Pakistan and she has delivered the message of President Uhuru Kenyatta to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in this regard. G2G interaction is very important and Kenya welcomes Look Africa Policy of Pakistan and Pakistan should get advantage of being among first movers to Africa being the continent of the future.
Secretary TDAP explained efforts under Look Africa Policy Initiative and informed that TDAP will organize Single Country Exhibition in Kenya in August 2018 and Additional Secretary (Trade Diplomacy) of Pakistan proposed that Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design could collaborate and train Kenyan students and Faculty. Both sides agreed on formation of Joint Trade and Investment Committee and decided that its first meeting will be hosted by Kenya in Nairobi in mid July 2018, the JTC will meet twice a year. Market access under Kenya Pakistan PTA will be discussed in JTC. The two sides will work to start direct flight between Nairobi and Karachi on weekly basis. Both countries will have Joint Ventures in Agriculture, textile, surgical and pharmaceutical sectors. The Conference continued on 2-3rd May 2018 and Kenyan delegates visits to textile and leather factories and agro processing units were arranged by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan on 4th May 2018. The conference and visit were jointly organized by Governments of Pakistan and Kenya.
Contributed by Amna Malik
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Mélange’ and ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.