Joint statement official visit to Seychelles of Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya, at the invitation of Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic Seychell
1. At the invitation of the Seychelles Government, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya, was on a two day official visit to Seychelles, as a follow-up of the recent official visit to Kenya on 16 -19 March 2014 of Mr. Jean-Paul ADAM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles. This visit stems from the strong willingness of both countries to further strengthen the longstanding ties of friendship and cooperation enjoyed by the two nations.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed, was accompanied on this visit by Mr. Kiprono Kittony, Chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and industries, and other senior officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
2. During her visit, the Cabinet Secretary called on Mr. James Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles. She also had bilateral discussions Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alain St. Ange, Minister for Tourism and Culture and Mr. Joël Morgan, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport to discuss ways to advance and expand both countries’ relationship to a new level of partnership.
3. Both sides recalled the visit of Minister Jean-Paul Adam to Kenya on 16-19 March 2014, to reinforce the natural and strategic partnership between Kenya and Seychelles. They acknowledged that these high-level visits continue to provide strong impetus to the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.
4. Both countries recognized the important historical bonds which unite Kenya and Seychelles. Kenya is the land of birth of many Seychellois nationals. Seychelles is also home to many Kenyan nationals who continue to play a pivotal role in the development of the country, such as in the fields of education, tourism and fisheries.
5. Noting with satisfaction the wide scope of cooperation that currently exists between Kenya and Seychelles in the field of tourism, aviation, labour, and trade; the two countries renewed their commitment to work together to reinforce cooperation in these traditional areas while at the same to vigorously expand their exchanges in new fields such as in security, police matters, maritime issues, commerce, investment, fisheries, sport, and culture. Both countries also agreed to pursue the following Memorandums of Understanding and Agreements:
- Transfer of Prisoners Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and the Government of the Republic of Kenya;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Development between the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and the Government of the Republic of Kenya;
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Seychelles Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation between the Seychelles Tourism Academy and the Kenya Utalii College;
- Memorandum of Understanding for friendly exchanges and cooperation between the City of Victoria and the City of Nairobi
6. Seychelles and Kenya also renewed their commitment to the ideals of Panafricanism and African renaissance. Both sides recognized that all African nations, big or small, have an active role to play in promoting the values of the African family. In this regard both countries pledged to continue to work together on all platforms to contribute to the development of the African Union 2063 Agenda.
7. Demonstrating the momentum in the relationship, and building on what was agreed during the discussions, Kenya and Seychelles are moving forward on the following initiatives:
a) Tourism was recognized as an important driver for inclusive growth in both countries. The two countries therefore plan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Development between the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and the Government of the Republic of Kenya. They agreed that the MoU will provide the right framework to encourage more exchanges between the tourism authorities of both countries and for the sharing of experience. They also agreed to promote joint tourism marketing of Kenyan Safari, Seychelles Beach Tourism, and Cruise liners between mainland Africa and the islands of Africa. They also encouraged collaboration between the tourism training academies of both countries.
b) Both sides also expressed support for the principle of developing an African Tourism Strategy following the African Ministers of Tourism meeting which took place on the 14th March 2014 in the Seychelles. They expressed willingness to work together within the context of the upcoming Tourism and Transport meeting to be held in Seychelles later this year as well as within the framework of the African Union for the promotion of an African Brand of tourism.
c) Both countries also agreed to work together within the context of the African Union in developing innovative sources of financing for the AU. They agreed that tourism will not be a viable avenue for raising finances as it will damage the tourism industry in Africa.
d) Minister Adam also expressed the appreciation of the Seychelles Government to Kenya Airways for the pivotal role it has played, as one of the longest serving airlines flying to the Seychelles, in connecting the two nations as well as promoting tourism and trade cooperation between Seychelles and Kenya. Both sides recognised that there is opportunity for further development of the route between Seychelles and Kenya that can be mutually beneficial for both countries.
e) The two countries agreed on the role of the private sector in bringing the partnership of the two countries to a new level. They emphasized the role of the chambers of commerce in driving cooperation of the two private sectors. Emphasis was also placed on the importance of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, signed in Kenya on 17th March 2014, as a mechanism to facilitate trade, commerce and investment between Seychelles and Kenya.
f) As part of south-south Cooperation, the two countries agreed that there is potential to exchange in terms of labour between the two countries. Seychelles and Kenya recognised the opportunities that the 1990 Technical Cooperation Agreement on Labour offered and agreed to develop a protocol to this agreement in order encourage exchange of skilled labour in key areas of demand in Seychelles.
g) Being coastal states, both sides also agreed on the enormous potential for cooperation in the fisheries sector in terms of value addition, technical exchange, and sharing of best practices. They welcomed the proposal for the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries cooperation and agreed to work towards this initiative.
h) Both sides agreed on the importance of the blue economy as the next frontier of sustainable development for Africa and the world. They agreed that as coastal states, both Kenya and Seychelles have important roles to play for the stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean. Considering the enormous potential that the Indian Ocean holds for cooperation and sustainable growth, the two countries agreed to redouble efforts to unlock this potential.
i) Both sides agreed that there was a need for increased maritime connectivity between the two countries in order to increase trading opportunities. They pledged to pursue consultations with various stakeholders concerned to examine the possibility of establishing a direct shipping link between the two countries.
j) Both sides recognised that maritime security is crucial to multiple areas of cooperation between the two countries and as such acknowledged the significance of intelligence sharing to curb criminal activities such as illegal fishing, piracy, trafficking in persons and other transnational crimes, which threaten the growth of the region. The two countries agreed to enhance collaboration to curb these threats through (a) intelligence sharing (b) the development of the first Seychelles-Kenya maritime security agenda and (c) collaboration through REFLECS3, including through the posting of a Kenyan expert to the centre based in Seychelles.
k) Acknowledging the importance of people-to-people links, they agreed to actively pursue exchanges in sports, culture, arts while placing particular emphasis on the need to continue empowering the young people of the two countries.
l) Following the entry into force of the General Cooperation Agreement, it was agreed that the first Seychelles-Kenya Joint Commission will be held at the end of August 2014 in Nairobi, to implement past agreements and other cooperation identified in various sectors.
m) Recalling the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, done in Kenya in March 2014, the two countries renewed their commitment to sustained political engagements at all government levels, more frequent high-level exchanges and regular dialogues on regional and international affairs of common interests.
n) Both sides also agreed to further promote cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries.
o) Both countries expressed their grave concern at the number of terrorist activities in the region. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles renewed the condolences of the Government of Seychelles to Kenya following the various terrorist attacks that took place and reiterated the support of Seychelles in working with Kenya to combat these serious threats in all its forms.
7. At the conclusion of the bilateral talks the following agreement was signed:
i. General Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Seychelles;
8. This joint statement embodies the vision of the Governments of Seychelles and Kenya to harness the enormous potential available to further strengthen and consolidate their comprehensive partnership in all areas of bilateral endeavour.