Kenya and the Seychelles have agreed to combat illegal fishing in Indian Ocean, which borders the two countries.
Speaking at State House, Nairobi, after holding bilateral talks, Seychelles President Danny Faure and his host Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to support best fishing practices and share intelligence on maritime security.
“We will be exchanging intelligence and ideas on how to combat drug trafficking, piracy and terrorism in the Indian Ocean,” said President Kenyatta. “We will eliminate this evil trade.”
The Head of State added that the Seychelles will help Kenya to develop its fish industry at the Coast, which he said is not fully unexploited.
The coastline between the two countries has witnessed cases of piracy and drug trafficking, among others, and the two nations have vowed to end it.
President Kenyatta described the visit by President Faure as historic, saying it marks the beginning of a new partnership between the two countries.
“The Seychelles can support Kenya in the development of its blue economy with partnership in areas such as tourism, horticulture and livestock industry,” he said.
The President also disclosed that trained teachers will to be taken to the island nation to support its education sector but did not disclose the number.
“We have been exporting our human capital to several countries such as Namibia, Rwanda and Liberia and we will continue to do so,” he said, noting that the partnership will be a win-win one for both countries.
President Faure said 400 Kenyans are working in his country as experts in the private sector and more were welcome. He said it makes economic sense for his country to import beef and poultry from Kenya instead of faraway countries such as Brazil.
The Seychelles will support Kenya in developing its maritime sector, especially the fishing industry, which Kenya has paid little attention to since Independence.
The two leaders also reached a deal to have Kenya and the Seychelles co-operate in tourism development by partnering the agencies managing the sectors in their respective countries.
President Kenyatta said Kenya and the Seychelles have tourism products that each is famous for and it will make economic sense if they partnered to promote each other.
Kenya is known for safari tourism and the Seychelles, which is an archipelago of 115 islands, its beach destinations.
As part of the efforts to enhance the close co-operation between the two nations, Kenya Airways will also increase its flights to the Seychelles.
“It is both our ambitions and intention to ensure that we do everything that we can to deepen regional trade investment and to grow our regional economies by working together,” said President Kenyatta.
He said there was a sizeable Kenyan diaspora in the Seychelles and that the Seychellois have long ties with Kenya.
“What we are doing now is to improve government-to-government ties,” said President Kenyatta as he thanked the important role the Seychelles has played as a strategic security partner in dealing with piracy and drug trafficking.
President Faure said his visit to Kenya, the first state visit since he ascended to power, “has a true meaning”.
READY TO WORK
He said his country was ready to work with Kenya to develop its blue economy and improve the security of its exclusive economic zone.
“We can help you to develop your fisheries sector and your defence sector, specifically the coast guard,” said President Faure.
He praised President Kenyatta for “putting in place development to transform the country” and “staying focused” despite challenges.
“What your President is doing here, he has been putting in place a development agenda to meet the new challenges of the Kenyan people,” said President Faure. “It has not been easy for him but what is important is that he has remained focused on developing your country so that the people can reap the benefits of his new pragmatic way of dealing with the problems of Kenya.”
President Faure also asked Kenyans to hold a peaceful election. He also praised President Kenyatta for his leadership role in the African Union and his efforts to help Somalia to regain normalcy.
On tourism, Kenya and the Seychelles will put a framework for a two-centre destination, where the two countries will work jointly to promote their tourism products.
He said the renewed partnership between Kenya and the Seychelles is informed by the fact that it is a new age and today’s Africa is different from that of the 1950s.
Early in the day, President Faure was accorded full state honours including a 21 gun salute
At the formal welcome ceremonies, the visiting Seychelles Head of State inspected a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Army while the national anthems of Kenya and the Seychelles were played by the military band.