President William Ruto on Tuesday held bilateral talks with his France counterpart, Emmanuel Macron at Elysee Palace, Paris, France.
During the talks, Kenya and France agreed to enhance their cooperation in developmental projects and to diversify and harness existing business opportunities between them.
“Kenya and France relations are anchored on mutually beneficial cooperation on trade, energy, health and infrastructure among others. We have agreed to diversify, harness and enhance existing business opportunities,” State House said in a statement.
Additionally, the two leaders agreed to further cooperation in peace and security in the East African region.
They acknowledged that Kenya and France enjoy warm and cordial historical relations that continue to grow on an upward trajectory.
“This has manifested through sustained cooperation in areas of trade, energy, health, water, infrastructure, agriculture, among others,” President Ruto said.
The President, who is in France for a one-day visit before proceeding to Senegal for a food conference, also met senior representatives of the French Business Community on the sideklines, where he pushed for increased trade and investment between the two countries.
Among the key projects supported by the French government in Kenya is the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Road, the $1.73 billion deal signed between Nairobi and Paris in 2019. It is a 30-year PPP concession for improvement and upgrade of two main highways in Kenya.
President Ruto, however, suspended when he took power in September 2022. The project came up on January 16, 2023 when French Ambassador Arnaud Suquet paid a courtesy call on Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Additionally, when Ambassador Suquet met Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi on January 19, they agreed to scale up Public Private Partnership collaborations.
The Sh16.3 billion deal for the construction of a railway line linking JKIA to Nairobi’s city centre, which was not signed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to France in June 2021,is likely to be revisited.
Kenya was expected to close the financing deal to fund the construction of the five-kilometre metre-gauge line linking the airport to SGR terminus in Syokimau.
Earlier agreements had provided for the signing of the loan pact by June 30 when then President Kenyatta visited France.