Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kenya, Zambia agree to deepen trade relations

Kenya, Zambia agree to deepen trade relations
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 10 Mar. 2012, 12:57 CAT

ZAMBIA and Kenya have emphasised the need to resolve outstanding issues on palm based oil, milk and milk products.

In a joint communiqué issued at the close of the 8th session of the Zambia and Kenya joint permanent commission of cooperation at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday, the delegates from both countries observed that the outstanding issues on milk and palm- based oil were affecting the volume of bilateral trade.

The delegates observed that there was need to revive the discussions and development of a Bilateral Trade Agreement.

"At the bilateral level, the two heads of delegation expressed satisfaction on the existing warm and friendly relations between the two countries," read the communiqué.

The delegates further emphasised the importance of implementation and agreed on a follow up mechanism that would improve execution of decisions.

During the same session, the delegates reviewed on-going cooperation between the two countries on a wide range of areas including, trade, industry and investment, customs and excise, transport, information and communication, meteorology, education, science and technology.

Other areas included mining, immigration, agriculture and livesto ckdevelopment, tourism and wildlife, environment and natural resources, labour, justice, health, crime prevention and foreign affairs.

"The two delegations undertook to enhance bilateral and technical cooperation by supporting each other in the above areas through exchange programmes, exchange of information, training and capacity building," read the communiqué.

The communiqué further read that in this regard, Zambia and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding in science, technology and innovation with the objective of enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

The delegates further acknowledged the importance of allocating resources and setting of time frames within which agreed areas of cooperation in the various sectors would be implemented.

The 9th session of the Zambia-Kenya Joint Permanent Commission of cooperation will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2014.

And Kenya's Minster of Trade Chirau Ali Mwakwere said his country's cooperation with Zambia in security matters was critical in view of the challenges posed by terrorism.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of session on Thursday, Mwakwere said he was happy to note that the two countries had continued to have a strong partnership in the realisation of mutual goals of peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region.

"I am confident that we will further deepen this cooperation through our membership in regional and international organisations," Mwakwere said.

And Mwakwere said in as far as agreements were concerned, the real challenge was not so much in the negotiations but in the implementation of decisions reached.

He hoped that the experts sitting at the meeting would take into account modalities to ensure that tangible results from the agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were concluded.

Mwakwere further said in this regard it was important to establish realistic timeframes for the various activities that the two countries intend to undertake.

And speaking at the same event, acting foreign affairs minister Dr John Phiri urged the two delegations to take the session as an opportunity for the two parties to review and analyse progress, challenges and explore new opportunities of cooperation.

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