Kenya and Eritrea have agreed to permanently scrap visa requirements for their citizens, a move which the two countries are optimistic it will lead to economic transformation.
The announcement was made on Thursday at State House, Nairobi, when Kenyan President William Ruto held bilateral talks with his Eritrean counterpart, Isaias Afwerki.
“We must have a regime that is free of barriers to further integration, strengthen connectivity and enhance regional trade,” said President Ruto.
Both leaders agreed that there exists huge trade and investment potential between their nations that calls for structured collaboration.
They cited renewable energy, water management, agriculture, transport, security, tourism, sports, mining, the blue economy and education as key areas of cooperation.
As at 2020, the trade volume between Kenya and Eritrea stood at Sh73.4 million as compared with Sh257 million in 2015. President Ruto said the relatively low figures were an indicator that the opportunity in trade is “enormous”.
“With the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area, we must cooperate in mapping out mutually beneficial strands of economic opportunities for our countries,” he pointed out.
President Afwerki said Eritrea was committed to taking measures that facilitate the deepening of economic, social and cultural relations with Kenya.
“We will keep promoting joint investment and work together towards enhancing sustainable peace and security,” he said during their joint media briefing.