Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on the international community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe saying the restrictions were damaging the Southern African nation.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon at State House in Nairobi during a joint press briefing with Zimbabwe counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa Mr Kenyatta termed the sanctions as illegal, assuring Zimbabwe of Kenya's continued advocacy to ensure that the restrictions are lifted.
“We consider this to be unfair for these hardships were artificially created and we continue to call on the international community to remove these illegal sanctions,” the President said.
The two countries signed seven bilateral agreements, all memoranda of understanding (MOU) on political and diplomatic consultations, tourism and wildlife conservation, and civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents investigations.
Among the signed bilateral agreements were on women empowerment and community development, youth affairs, cooperatives, a sports and recreation activities.
The President said the agreements will enable Kenya and Zimbabwe to cooperate in addressing challenges facing them, particularly youth unemployment.
In 2019, data by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated the youth unemployment rate in Zimbabwe was at 8.13 percent.
Mr Kenyatta, however, pointed out that the signing of the agreement on women empowerment was particularly important since it was entered into, a day after yesterday's International Women’s Day national celebrations during which Kenya re-dedicated herself to the attainment of her ambitions gender and goals.
“This MoU will go a long way in realizing this important development agenda. It seeks to promote a closer working relationship between our two countries in achieving the shared vision of women empowerment and community development, and also facilitate the sharing of knowledge, strategies and technology for our women,” President Kenyatta said.
The two heads of state noted that the Zimbabwe visit to Kenya was aimed at deepening the strong and historical bilateral relations between Nairobi and Harare.
“My visit to Kenya is aimed at consolidating our relations by refocusing our cooperation to increase bilateral trade, investment, tourism, transport, science and technology and innovation among other aspects such as defense and security matters,” President Mnangagwa said
“The friendship between our two countries and peoples goes back to the days before independence, with many people from the Shona community who are now recognized and regularised as Kenyan citizens, settled in our country in 1960,” President Kenyatta said.
Mr Mnangagwa said the unity of purpose would help Kenya and Zimbabwe to effectively deal with emerging challenges such as terrorism and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We affirmed the need for cooperation with bilateral commitment at global levels to deal with pandemics of this nature now and in the future. Both Zimbabwe and Kenya are committed to enhancing cooperation towards mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and other environmental issues,” the Zimbabwean leader said.
On multilateral cooperation, President Kenyatta congratulated Zimbabwe on its recent election into the African Union Peace and Security Council and assured President Mnangagwa of Kenya's strong backing during his country's two-year tenure.
President Mnangagwa reiterated his Kenyan counterparts' call on the international community to lift sanctions placed upon his country terming the restrictions as unilateral.
At the bilateral meeting, Zimbabwe donated to Kenya 100 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to boost the fight against Covid-19.