Principal Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amb Macharia Kamau visited Somalia from 7th -9th November 2020 on a mission to explore investment opportunities and boost bilateral ties between the two countries. Amb Macharia Kamau was received by his Somalia counterpart, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Mohamed Nur Hagi and later held talks with him and H.E Amb. Ahmed Awad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somalia.
During the meeting Amb. Macharia informed the two senior officials of the Government of Somalia that he was in the country to see the newly built facilities of the Kenyan Embassy in Mogadishu, engage mission staff and familiarize himself with the condition that they live in.
However, he said, in keeping with the African culture, it was imperative to register his presence to the leadership of Somalia. He also wished to convey greetings from H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya to his Somalia brother H.E Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Amb. Macharia Kamau, was accompanied by H.E Lucas Tumbo, Kenya’s Ambassador to Mogadishu and Mr. John Gitu, Director Human Resource Management. Ambassador Mohamed Nur, thanked the Principal Secretary for the courtesy call.
The talks focused on regional cooperation and business opportunities that exists between the two countries.
“Great opportunities for bilateral and regional cooperation and trade exist between Kenya and Somalia. As Somalia makes significant progress in business, economic and social development. Security and other historical challenges, though real should not be allowed to stand in our way” said PS Kamau.
The visit by the Kenyan officials is an indication that peace efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed Farmajo are bearing fruits with PS Macharia noting that development in both countries would be achieved if both countries coexisted harmoniously.
“Prosperity and development of both countries would be realized much faster with a peaceful and stable Somalia. He added that Kenya and Somalia are neighbours, a situation that cannot changed. Therefore, the two countries should find ways of living together in harmony for the benefit of their peoples” PS noted.
Amb Mohamed Nur thanked the PS for the visit and added that the two countries had good bilateral ties and should continue to seek solutions on any emerging problems through bilateral talks. He thanked Kenya for having signed a trade agreement with Somalia chamber of commerce which need to be improved further.
Kenya and Somalia have an existing comprehensive Joint Commission of Cooperation which they said needed implementation to enhance and deepen bilateral ties in all sectors. Somalia has great potential for trade but this has remains low as a result of insecurity which has undermined Somalia’s efforts to do business with its neighbouring countries.
Amb Nur reiterated that Kenya and Somalia’s relation had remained cordial for all the years, saying they are thankful for the hospitality accorded to them by Kenya during the years of civil strife in Somalia. This was after the collapse of the central government in 1991.
Ambassador Awad, the Minister for Foreign Affairs similarly echoed the warm and brotherly ties that exists between Kenya and Somalia. He again reiterated the eternal gratitude to the Government and the people of Kenya for their generosity and sacrifices toward the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia. He noted that any isolated differences could be handled amicably. He added that Kenya remains the destination of choice for Somali business community as compared to other neighbouring countries.
He appealed to Kenya to consider issuance of visas on arrival to diplomatic passport holders to start with, and thereafter to the People of Somalia visiting Kenya. The Principal Secretary promised to follow up the matter and find out with those concerns since the issue had been dealt with before. He requested that the Foreign Ministry in Mogadishu to submit a list of diplomatic passport holders to ease identification and issuance of the visas on arrival.
The two sighted opportunities in trade and commerce noting the abundance of fish in Somalia, which Kenya needs while Somalia can import Khat (miraa) from Kenya as well as rice, avocado, beans, cement and steel from Kenya and other construction and agricultural products which would enhance the wealth creation and development.
On the sidelines of the visit the Principal Secretary met with British and European Union envoys at the Kenya’s Embassy. They discussed the security situation in Somalia and the role the Africa Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).
Amb Macharia Kamau also held talks with Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of (AMISOM).
The Principal Secretary commended Ambassador Madeira for the excellent work that AMISOM has done to stabilize Somalia. The Principal Secretary informed that he was aware that AMISOM is hugely underfunded and over stretched in Somalia.