Joint Press conference on the occasion of the State Visit of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta to Seychelles Remarks by President Wavel Ramkalawan
18 July 2022 | Foreign Affairs
Your Excellency Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya;
The Vice President
Members of the Kenyan delegation; Members of the Seychelles delegation
Members of the Press;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am deeply honoured to welcome H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, a dear brother to State House. Karibu Ushelisheli your excellency!
President Kenyatta and I have met previously on various occasions, be it at COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in Brussels for the AU/EU summit or more recently in Kigali during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). However, it is important to note that we first met in Nairobi when President Uhuru was still the Leader of the Opposition and so was I.
Our meeting in Seychelles testifies to the importance we place on the relationship between our two countries. It is the opportunity to give a new impetus to the Seychelles-Kenya relations.
President Kenyatta and I had excellent discussions this morning. First of all, we reminded ourselves of the bonds of history and personal friendship that unite our two peoples. Seychellois and Kenyans have known each other like forever. Our young men, including my father, who joined the British army first landed in Mombasa. They picked up the Kiswahili language and back home they exhibited their proficiency in that language specially after a couple of bottles. To date there are still many Seychellois in Kenya and those who have returned to Seychelles are commonly referred to as ‘Kenya borns’. And from what I gather, in Kenya, if anyone wants a good mechanic, a Seychellois(shelisheli) is your best choice.
We reaffirmed the longstanding, multifaceted partnership between Seychelles and Kenya. Kenya and Seychelles had substantial bilateral cooperation in fields such as education, health, trade, agriculture, civil aviation, as well as strong people-to-people ties even before the establishment of diplomatic relations on 10 January 1990. Today we are strengthening these and many more.
I have expressed my gratitude to President Kenyatta for the assistance provided by the 50 Kenyan health care workers who were recruited by the Ministry of Health in March 2020 following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I have reiterated my appreciation to him for the contribution of Kenyan teachers to our education system. There are currently 65 Kenyan teachers teaching in primary and secondary schools, and 9 Kenyan lecturers working in tertiary institutions in Seychelles. The work done by Kenyan land surveyors has also been much appreciated.
I have also expressed my wish for Kenya to consider establishing an Honorary Consulate in Seychelles. An Honorary Consulate will provide consular assistance to Kenyan nationals residing in Seychelles, as well as Kenyans visiting our country. It is to be noted that there are presently 846 Kenyan nationals living and working in Seychelles.
President Kenyatta and I have discussed the challenges that both countries face in the fight against drug trafficking and the challenges of maritime security. As regional partners and African leaders, it is our duty and in our mutual interest to work together on these issues.
In February this year, when President Kenyatta and I met in Addis Ababa during the AU Summit, we discussed the possibility of Kenya assisting Seychelles in the agricultural sector. Today, we have gone a step further by signing a cooperation agreement in the field of agriculture.
I am also pleased that today Seychelles and Kenya have been able to sign a number of agreements and MOUs, namely:
- Memorandum of Understanding for Tourism Development
- Memorandum of Understanding in the Area of Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperative Sectors;
- Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
- Agreement on Cooperation in the Blue Economy Sector;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Affairs;
- Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Peace, Security and Law Enforcement at Sea;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Co-Operation in the Field of Sports;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Promotion of Partnership on Gender Equality and Women Economic Empowerment;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Security and Crime Combatting;
- A Defence Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kenya as Represented by the Ministry of Defence and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles as Represented by the Department of Defence.
Furthermore, we have agreed to enhance our relationship and collaborate in the international arena on issues related to climate change and the development of a Vulnerability Index that will properly reflect the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States like Seychelles.
We have also discussed ways in which we can strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
Last but not least, President Kenyatta and I shared our concerns about the current Russia –Ukraine situation.
I thank you.