Nairobi, Kenya, Jun 11 - In a significant development aimed at fostering people-to-people interactions, trade, and investment, Kenya and Djibouti have mutually agreed to abolish visa requirements for their citizens.
The move was announced during a joint press conference held by Kenyan President Ruto and Djibouti President Ismail Guelleh. This agreement holds great promise for both countries and opens the door to various opportunities.
Kenya has expressed its commitment to eliminate visa barriers for Djiboutian citizens traveling to Kenya. However, the leaders did not provide a specific timeline for the implementation of this new visa-free arrangement.
To enhance coordination on labor migration and ensure predictability, both governments have agreed to accelerate the negotiation and finalization of a comprehensive labor agreement between the two states. Additionally, they have established a Joint Technical Committee dedicated to workforce development efforts.
Recognizing the untapped potential for expanding commercial relations, Kenya and Djibouti have agreed to establish a Joint Business Council.
This council will work towards synchronizing trade missions and improving market access, particularly within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
One significant obstacle to trade between the two countries is the absence of direct flights. To address this, President Ruto and President Guelleh have committed to generating demand for direct flights, including a review of the existing Bilateral Air Service Agreement. The restoration of air connectivity is expected to have a profound impact on enhancing trade between the nations.
Recognizing the importance of digital connectivity in fostering innovation and expanding e-commerce, Kenya will review Djibouti Telecoms' proposal to sell its undersea cable infrastructure to Kenya's TEAMs.
This review will consider technological advancements and the requirements of both parties. Institutional discussions on this matter are set to take place in Nairobi within the next two weeks.
Following the meeting, Kenya and Djibouti signed four MOUs:
This agreement holds the potential to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Kenya and Djibouti, boost economic ties, and facilitate greater people-to-people interactions and trade. It reflects a commitment to regional cooperation and integration in East Africa.