President Ebrahim Raisi and his host President William Ruto on Wednesday, July 12, held talks seeking to bolster Kenya – Iran ties.
Raisi touched down in Nairobi early in the morning for his maiden state visit to Africa.
The two leaders later held talks and addressed a joint press conference announcing a number of Memorandums of understanding (MoUs).
President Ruto, while addressing a joint presser, said the agreements will provide a framework for deeper trade cooperation between Nairobi and Tehran.
The two leaders agreed on a wide range of issues including plans to boost agricultural exports to Iran, infrastructure, healthcare , and plans to support Kenya’s fishery sector.
In particular, Kenya will look to leverage its ties with Iran to boost exports of tea, coffee, beef- among other agricultural produce.
According to Ruto, they also discussed ways of improving the balance of trade between Tehran and Nairobi.
“President Raisi and I had the opportunity to exchange views and share ideas about emerging opportunities to improve the balance of trade between our two nations,” President Ruto noted
“Kenya and Iran are strategically situated to be each other’s key points of entry into their respective regions, and we have affirmed our joint commitment to capitalise on this unique advantage.”
Tapping Iran’s Technological Prowess
In addition, President Ruto asserted his government’s intention to leverage Iran’s technological prowess to spur development in Kenya.
The President announced that he was looking forward to the establishment of the Iran House of Innovation and Technology in Nairobi that will offer a platform for businesses to access requisite technologies.
Furthermore, President Ruto intimated plans by Iran’s government to set up a vehicle manufacturing plant in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
“His Excellency conveyed to me information that will be good news for stakeholders in our mechanical and automotive sector, including dealers, engineers, technicians and other workers: Iran’s intention to set up a motor vehicle assembly plant in Mombasa to manufacture an indigenous Iranian vehicle – ‘Kifaru’ (rhino),” he noted.
On his part, President Raisi commended Kenya’s government for its efforts towards creating a friendly business environment.
According to Raisi, more Iranian companies are looking to establish their operations in Kenya as a way of penetrating the vast East African Community (EAC) and COMESA markets.
“The Kenya-Iran relations can always get better for our benefit,” President Raisi noted during the briefing.
Nairobi was the first stop for the Iranian President before heading to