NAIROBI – Kenya is keen on harnessing on Belarus’s technology in agriculture. President William Ruto has said.
President Ruto met his Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko at State House, Nairobi, where he said they agreed to broaden bilateral ties to renewable energy, trade, investment and education.
“Immense opportunities exist between Kenya and Belarus that must be exploited for the prosperity of the two countries. Kenya is particularly keen on harnessing the Eastern European country’s advanced technology in agriculture to boost productivity,” President Ruto said on X on Monday.
The two leaders met days after meeting on December 1 on the sidelines of CoP28 in Dubai, UAE, where they agreed on the need to exchange visits and develop a cooperation framework.
“You and I have already exchanged several phrases and opinions before the opening of the summit. In order for us to have a thorough conversation and improve our relations, I think you could come to us, I could come to you at a convenient time,” state-owned Belarusian Telegram Agency (BELTA) quoted Lukashenko as saying.
“As a result of these visits, our specialists would work (just like with Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea) and we would be able to build a certain plan for our cooperation, understanding what you need from us. And we would look at your country and decide on our needs,” added Lukashenko.
Their meetings were preceded by those at the ministerial level, with Belarus Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Aleinik visiting Kenya on April 1-3, 2023. The two sides discussed cooperation in the political, trade, economic, scientific, technical, cultural and humanitarian fields.
They also agreed to undertake steps towards developing cooperation in agriculture and industry, energy and the green economy, education, tourism, and cultural exchanges.
Kenya and Belarus also agreed to form a legal and institutional framework to discuss and sign agreements on trade and economic cooperation, education, avoidance of double taxation and abolition of visas for holders of diplomatic and service passports. Cooperation in the mechanization of agriculture, strengthening the industrial potential of Kenya and expanding mutual trade and industrial cooperation were also discussed.
Cabinet secretaries Moses Kuria (Public Service and formerly Trade and investment) and Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) visiting Minsk on June 7, 2023, held talks with Minister Aleinik and discussed prospects of importing tractors and potash fertilizers from Belarus.
The Kenya kwanza Administration had early this year put forward a plan to import agricultural equipment worth Sh31 billion from Belarus, which was said to be shrouded in secrecy. It is understood the plan didn’t materialize due to pressure from the West (the US, the UK and the EU), which has sanctioned Belarus.
Lukashenko’s visit will once again put President Ruto’s foreign policy orientation and alignment into focus, following his initial Look West stance.