Kenya and Seychelles on Monday signed a record 10 agreements to cement the historical cordial diplomatic relations the two countries have enjoyed since they became independent.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host President Wavel Ramkalawan witnessed the signing of the pacts at State House, Victoria, in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles.
Key among the agreements signed was one on cooperation in the blue economy sector which seeks to enhance capacity building and exchange of expertise in the governance aspects of the blue economy as well as bolster the circular economy and collaboration in the aquaculture sector.
Also signed was Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for cooperation on peace, security and law enforcement at sea as well as maritime affairs.
Addressing the press after witnessing the signing of the agreements, President Kenyatta said he has resolved with his host President Ramkalawan to further cooperate on, among other areas, matters of peace and security especially on marine security.
“Seychelles is a leading champion of the blue economy. We have, in that regard, agreed to strengthen our collaboration in protecting and ensuring sustainable utilization of our ocean resources,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta commended the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the two nations for putting together the agreements that were signed which outlined the avenues to be explored to enable Kenya and Seychelles to fully maximize and further solidify their existing ties.
On his part, President Ramkalawan said President Kenyatta’s visit to Seychelles was significant to the two countries as it reaffirmed the multifaceted relations the two nations have enjoyed the years.
“Kenya and Seychelles had substantial bilateral cooperation in fields such as education, health, trade, agriculture, civil aviation as well as strong people-to-people ties even before the establishment of diplomatic relations on 10th January 1990,” President Ramkalawan said.
He expressed gratitude to the Kenyan Government for its continued support of the socio-economic growth of Seychelles, saying that currently there are 846 Kenyans living in the country, among them several expatriates in the education and health sectors.
“I have expressed my gratitude to President Kenyatta for the assistance provided by the 50 Kenyan health workers who were recruited by the Ministry of Health in March 2020 following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have reiterated my appreciation to him for the contribution of Kenyan teachers to our education system,” President Ramkalawan said.
Fielding questions from the press, the two leaders said by working together, the two countries would create huge opportunities for their citizens, especially in the blue economy and tourism sectors.
Other bilateral pacts signed included a Defence Cooperation Agreement and another one on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal as well as MOUs on tourism development and bilateral cooperation in the areas of agriculture, livestock, and cooperative sectors.
Also signed were MOUs on cooperation in the field of sports and the promotion of partnership on gender equality and women economic empowerment.
President Kenyatta pointed out that with genuine and strong partnerships, Africa has the capacity to create a better future for its people.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Raychelle Omamo signed the agreements on the Kenyan side while Seychelles Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde signed on behalf of his country.