The revival of tourism post Covid-19 is set to dominate talks when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta for a three-day official visit.
The two countries’ economies contracted after being pummelled by the impact of the coronavirus crisis that hit key sectors like tourism.
President Ramaphosa will host the Kenya leader, who arrives in Pretoria on Monday, at the Union Buildings in the capital before the two leaders head to Transnet Engineering in Koedoespoort.
The Transnet engagement is aimed at providing an ideal opportunity to showcase South Africa’s capability in the supply and maintenance of rail-related technology.
“President Ramaphosa will lead South Africa’s delegation to the Official Talks with President Kenyatta where discussions will range between bilateral, multilateral, economic, regional and continental issues.
“Memoranda of Agreement on cooperation in International Cooperation and Relations, Home Affairs and Tourism are expected to be signed,” the Presidency in South Africa said in a statement.
Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa, Catherine Muigai Mwangi, said the two leaders will have a bilateral meeting where some memoranda of understanding (MOUs) will be signed to anchor the engagement of the two countries in a number of areas.
“It is indeed an exciting visit for both Kenya and South Africa. We have an excellent programme for the President, a meeting which will be attended by both principals and their delegations,” she said in her press briefing on Monday.
Amb Mwangi pointed out that MOUs on migration matters, tourism and diplomatic consultations are some of the key diplomatic instruments that are expected to be signed at the Tuesday high-level bilateral meeting.
“The MOUs form the framework within which Kenya and South Africa will work together in some of these areas,” she said.
Amb Mwangi explained that the MOU on migration will be a precursor to establishing a visa-free regime for Kenyans travelling to South Africa, adding that this is a reciprocal move because South Africans already enter Kenya without visas.
On the MOU on tourism, Amb Mwangi said the agreement will look at all elements of tourism including opportunities for investment to grow the sector in the two countries as well as providing a platform to exchange experiences and lessons learnt.
The two heads of state will also address the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum to further explore new areas of economic, trade and investment cooperation.
They will also discuss the latest developments around the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
“President Kenyatta’s programme will include a visit to the Aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha on 24 November 2021 to demonstrate South Africa’s technical capacity to manufacture and distribute vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for a global market in accordance with international standards as well as to highlight areas of possible cooperation with Kenya,” the Presidency added.
Kenya and South Africa share a longstanding, mutually beneficial relation that pre-dates Kenya’s historic support for the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa.
The two nations are big trading partners with South Africa having exported $500 million worth of goods to Kenya in 2020 against imports of $20.9 million.
According to the statement, there are more than 60 South African companies operating in Kenya, with investments in the financial services, real estate, food and beverages, entertainment services and hospitality sector, among others.
South African Airways (SAA) and Kenya Airways have indicated they want to look into a long-term goal of co-starting a pan-African airline group. The two airlines recently signed a memorandum of co-operation in this regard.
They believe that such a pan-African airline group could “enhance mutual growth potential by taking advantage of strengths of the two airlines' busy hubs.”