NAIROBI – Presidents of Kenya and Nigeria have pledged to work together to make Africa a better place for the present and future generations.
Presidents of both countries Uhuru Kenyatta and Muhammadu Buhari said they will join hands in addressing challenges facing the countries in rooting out corruption, terrorism and radicalization, which they termed as “obstacles to development.”
The two leaders made this known during a state banquet hosted by Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in honour of the visiting Nigerian President, Mahammadu Buhari.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Buhari recalled that Kenya’s founding father President Jomo Kenyatta was among the most inspiring first generation of African freedom fighters which included Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria and Kwame Nkuruma of Ghana – leaders who paved the way for the independent Africa of today.
Buhari added; “That generation of heroes brought our continent back to us. Now it is our task to make them proud by elevating Africa to a level beyond their dreams.” He noted also that his visit to Kenya was the first state visit since he assumed the leadership of Nigeria, adding that he appreciates the deepening relations between the two countries.
“For example, we have Nigerian banks operating in Kenya while Kenya Airways is connecting many Nigerians to West Africa and indeed the world. Nigerian farmers are coming to Kenya to learn from successful Kenyan farmers while many upcoming Kenyan oil and gas businessmen are partnering with Nigerian oil companies.
“We have Nigerians drinking Kenyan coffee in their homes and offices while many Kenyans are listening to Nigerian Music and watching Nollywood movies,” Buhari pointed out.
He noted that, these developments point to a real integration within the continent which promotes and boost intra-Africa trade that result in creation of millions of jobs within Africa for Africans.
“It is on this note that I hope our two countries will continue building on the strong foundation already laid so far by further enhancing trade and economic ties,” Buhari said.
Kenyatta said Buhari’s visit to Kenya has provided an opportunity to maintain the momentum in the development of bilateral relations that have registered significant growth between Kenya and Nigeria.
He told Buhari that, “I look forward to continuing to work with you my brother in ensuring that Africa’s children enjoy happier, more peaceful and prosperous lives.”
According to Kenyatta, the two countries are forging closer ties creating room for increased partnership between the business communities of Kenya and Nigeria; noting that the two countries were grappling with the problems of terrorism, radicalization of the youth and violent extremism, stating that the two countries will work together to end these scourges.
While appreciating Buhari support and visit to Moi barracks in honour of Kenyan soildiers, Kenyatta said, “Tonight, I simply want to record my deep appreciation of your support in our fight.”
Both Kenyatta and Buhari agreed that both countries should ensure that the Memoranda of Understanding and bilateral agreements signed are implemented in earnest.
The state banquet was attended by senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and other invited guests.