ADDIS ABABA – Kenya is keen on exploiting its long-standing relations and proximity with Ethiopia to boost economic ties, according to President William Ruto.
Ruto made the remark during his first visit to Ethiopia as President of Kenya on Thursday.
Following a warm welcome at Addis Ababa airport, Prime minister Abiy Ahmed and the visiting President of Kenya held talks on issues of mutual interest.
The two leaders expressed their strong desire to strengthen collaboration between Ethiopia and Kenya, according to the PM Office.
PM Abiy lauded the strong relationship between his country and neighboring Kenya.
“The relation is established on strong foundations and cordial cooperation focused on matters of mutual interest,” the PM said in a tweet.
President Ruto said he will work closely with PM Abiy to reconfigure the two countries’ priorities for the socioeconomic prosperity of their people.
“Kenya-Ethiopia partnership is a cornerstone of our mutual benefit and regional stability,” noted President Ruto.
President Ruto also urged Prime Minister Abiy to make use of the Lamu Port as the home port for the Southern part of Ethiopia.
Kenya commissioned the $3bn port last year, aiming to attract cargo destined for its landlocked neighbors, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Kenya is already building roads toward the two countries from Lamu.
From the Ethiopian side, a 500-kilometer road linking with Kenya was officially opened for traffic at the end of 2020 and authorities expect it to become a vital outlet for Ethiopia to use the Lamu Port.
In Addis, Ruto toured the newly inaugurated Science Museum which hosts science and technology exhibitions and start-ups, together with Abiy.
Both leaders also attended the event for the official launch of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia at Addis Ababa’s Friendship Park.
The company, partly owned by Kenya’s largest mobile telco Safaricom, is the first foreign investment in Ethiopia’s telecom sector.
President Ruto said a supportive environment can build a competitive tech start-up ecosystem that generates life-changing innovations in Africa.
“Safaricom’s success story is such an enduring innovation of how the tech revolution is bypassing traditional barriers to deliver sustainable prosperity,” he added.
The two countries must seize the monumental opportunity, harness the convergence of capital and technology, nurture innovative ideas and turn to a vibrant digital policy that will open up economies to accelerate our growth, he added.
Following a one-day official visit to Ethiopia, President Ruto has returned home. PM Abiy saw him off at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Thursday afternoon.