Uhuru, Park agree to hasten South Korea-funded projects

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye on Tuesday agreed to speed up implementation of multi-billion shilling agreements signed between the two countries.

They asked the relevant ministries and government agencies involved to see that the existing bilateral relations are bolstered for greater growth.

President Kenyatta said there is need for the two governments to consolidate their cooperation for energy, as well as integrated rural and urban development.

The priority areas that featured in the talks included energy, transport, ICT, agriculture, education and science and technology projects.

President Kenyatta said Kenya has a lot to learn from the Korean expertise and experiences as this will help the country achieve the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint.

Further engagement will see Kenya grow its trade, investment, education, sports, culture improvement and information capacities.

On trade and investment, President Kenyatta said there has been steady growth in volume of product exchanges between the two countries.

By 2014, Kenya's balance of trade with Korea valued at Sh29.10 billion albeit with the latter reaping more - a gap they said can be reduced by allowing more Kenyan products access the Korean market.

“These include cut flowers, coffee, black tea, and fresh produce such as mangoes, avocadoes, pineapples among others, which are world class products and are traded in international markets. We believe that an increase of exports will improve trade relations between our countries,” President Kenyatta said.

He noted that the government is eager to grow cooperations in electric power and nuclear energy development with the government of Korea.

“Korea is already training 14 Kenyan students at the Kepco international nuclear graduate school (KINGS),” said President Kenyatta.

To date, said the President, investment in the energy sector, particularly by Korean companies has enhanced the country’s generation of power.

The President pointed out that the Korean government has helped in the rehabilitation of primary schools in Nairobi, Nakuru and Thika.

The Head of State said his government supports the ongoing dialogue between relevant authorities of the two countries charged with the establishment of Kenya Advance Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at Konza Techno City.

President Park, who is on a 3-day visit, responded by saying Kenya is a regional economic power and has great influence.

She said her government will help Kenya achieve its vision 2030 by increasing trade and business investment.

On importation of horticultural and other agricultural products to Korea, President Park said her government will consult quarantine authorities and agree on what needs to be done.

She said Korean firms are keen in participating on the LAPSSET and Vision 2030 projects so as to support Kenya achieve its development agenda.

The meeting was attended by deputy president William Ruto and cabinet secretaries.

President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta later hosted President Park to a luncheon at State House, Nairobi.

The luncheon was attended by Cord leader Raila Odinga and minority leader in the Senate Moses Wetangula.

Source: PSCU / The Star



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