India on Thursday announced a $100 million Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanisation after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during which they also decided to deepen economic cooperation, identifying expansion of bilateral trade as a “priority”. Asserting that challenges in the maritime domain are a shared concern, Modi said the two sides will also explore opportunities in blue economy.
“We are focussed on quick operationalisation of our defence cooperation. Some of the specific areas of priority would be hydrography, communication networks, anti-piracy, capacity building, exchanges and defence medical cooperation. We are also partnering to strengthen our security cooperation and capacities. In this context, we have directed the Joint Working Group to meet early. It would focus on cyber security, counter terrorism, combating drugs, narcotics, human trafficking and money laundering,” the Prime Minister said at a joint press event with Kenyatta.
Noting that they reviewed the full range of bilateral relationship, Modi said the two sides will encourage industry and business in both countries to take lead in exploiting opportunities in healthcare, tourism, information technology, agriculture, blue economy and energy. “The Joint Business Council meeting tomorrow will work to build commercial engagement through specific projects in these areas. To boost trade, we are also cooperating on trade facilitation measures, including standardisation and related areas,” he said. Recalling his visit to Kenya last year, the Prime Minister said the two countries had identified deepening of economic cooperation as one of the key focus areas and in this context, “expansion of bilateral trade, greater flow of capital between two economies and stronger developmental partnership are a priority”.
Emphasising that broad-based and wide-ranging cooperation in agriculture and food security was a shared priority, Modi said the two sides were collaborating to raise agricultural productivity in Kenya. “The Line of Credit Agreement of $100 million signed for agricultural mechanisation today wuld open a new dimension of engagement. Long-term arrangement with Kenya for production and import of pulses is being explored and discussed. We would also be happy to share best practices in organic farming with Kenyan farmers,” Modi added. On his part, Kenyatta thanked India for all the assistance provided in various sectors including scholarships in IT and other fields. The visiting dignitary invited Indian companies to invest in Kenya and also sought more market access for Kenyan products in India. Modi also noted that in the health sector, Bhabhatron machine has been delivered to the Kenyatta National Hospital for cancer treatment, asserting that related capacity building of the Kenyan doctors is being undertaken under India-Africa Forum Summit initiative.
“Partnership in education is creating new connections between our people,” he said, adding India has a strong relationship with the University of Nairobi, where a Chair for Indian Studies has been established by ICCR, and renovation of its library is also being undertaken with Indian assistance. “On energy, we value Kenya’s support to the International Solar Alliance, and our joint efforts to harness the energy of the sun to power our economic growth,” the Prime Minister said. Describing the large Indian-origin community of Kenya as a vital and energetic link between the two countries, Modi said, “I have discussed with President Kenyatta ways to engage them with our trade, investments and cultural exchanges.” He also said he and the President have agreed to accord close and personal supervision of the implementation of the decisions taken by them. He also talked about India and Kenya having fought together against colonialism. “Just last month, President Kenyatta recognised the contribution of Makhan Singh, an Indian born trade union leader, joining hands with his Kenyan brothers to help overthrow the colonial order in Kenya. Common belief in democratic values, our shared developmental priorities and the warm currents of the Indian Ocean bind our societies,” Modi said.