By FAUXILE KIBET
Kenya and Ethiopia have promised to continue pushing for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM forces from the United Nations assessed contributions.
Speaking when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, the two leaders said that they will work to ensure the stabilization of Somalia and strive towards winning the fight against Al Shabaab.
“Kenya and Ethiopia are also key partners in seeking to secure security and peace in the region, and have both committed time and resources in the fight against terrorism, fight to bring Somalia to sustainable peace, and the initiatives to bring a lasting solution to the challenges in South Sudan,” President Kenyatta said.
“The two leaders committed to continue lobbying for adequate and sustainable support to AMISOM, including provision of force multipliers for the mission in Somalia, as well as training for the Somalia security forces,” a communique from the meeting read in part.
The meeting came ahead of a planned visit to Nairobi by Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh which is also expected to further talks on efforts towards attaining peace and stability in the region.
On Sunday, at least eight Kenyan soldiers were killed and others injured when their vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) while they were on patrol on the Kenya-Somalia border, near the Somali town of Dobley.
“A Platoon PTL of QRF convoy returning to Dobley through Dagalema route from Dadaab for contactor vehicles escort duties encountered an IED between Dobley and Dagalema which completely destroyed a landcruiser killing 8 and injuring 2,” a report by the Department of Defence read.
Kenya and Ethiopia will also partner in building the road network connecting the coastal city of Lamu and Addis Ababa, a statement from State House read.
“Both sides agreed to jointly supervise and inspect the Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo-Moyale and Moyale-Hawassa-Addis Ababa road networks,” the communique noted. “The Kenyan side will facilitate the formal acquisition of land in Lamu Port given to the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian side reiterated its commitment to develop the land for logistical facilitation.”
The leaders also discussed the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Kigali Rwanda which is expected to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people, goods and services.
“AfCFTA will lead to the accelerated pathway to integration. Africa is better off increasing trade with itself. Last week, the Kenyan National Assembly ratified the AfCFTA in terms of the law, and we now expect arrangements to be made for it to be lodged with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next week,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Rwanda and Ghana have both also ratified and now the race is on which country is first to officially submit that ratification. Intra-Africa trade is estimated to be around 12 percent which is relatively low compared to other regions of the world.
Intra-European trade is estimated to be around 60 percent while that of Asia is around 40 percent. The establishment of the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra Africa trade to 22 percent by 2022. All this will provide substantial economic and social gains to Kenya.
The AfCFTA is also expected to create a wider and expanded African market, with a combined population of over 1.2 billion people and a growing middle class, as well as a combined gross domestic product of more than US$ 3.4 trillion. The African continental population is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050.
The Kenyan president said that more efforts need to be put to facilitate movement of goods within the region. The construction of the One-Stop Border Post in Moyale which is complete on the Kenyan side and 95% complete on the Ethiopian side is one of the achievements so far made.
“On the development of essential infrastructure projects such as roads and railway to help facilitate smooth movement of people and goods, I wish to inform that the upgrade of the Isiolo-Moyale road to bitumen standard is complete, providing a vital link between the Port of Mombasa to the border
at Moyale, and onward to Addis Ababa,” said Mr Kenyatta.