Ghana and Kenya have signed seven agreements to strengthen the bonds of friendship and co-operation between them.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by President John Dramani Mahama and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, as part of President Mahama’s three-day state visit to Kenya.
Two of the agreements, which were signed at the State House in Nairobi, centred on the development of partnerships in air services and trade, while the five others focused on tourism, agriculture, energy, oil and gas, information and communications technology and education.
Some elements of the agreements include efforts to reduce the cost of doing business between the two countries, co-operation in tourism training, and the exchange of technical information in agriculture.
During bilateral discussions preceding the signing ceremony, the two leaders exchanged ideas on the need to establish double taxation agreements between the two countries and how to protect investments in each other’s country.
They further discussed how Ghana and Kenya could serve as effective sub-regional aviation hubs in West and East Africa respectively.
President Mahama congratulated his Kenyan host on the recent decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop charges of crime against humanity and genocide levelled against him, over the killing of more than 1000 people during the 2007 elections.
President Mahama, who is also the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said that Kenya, as the largest economy in East Africa, and Ghana, as the second largest economy in West Africa, could forge stronger partnerships that boost intra-African trade and deliver jobs, opportunities and prosperity to the people of both nations.
The Kenyan leader, who is the current Chairman of the East Africa Community (EAC), commended President Mahama on his leadership as head of ECOWAS, especially in addressing terrorism and insecurity, and fighting the Ebola disease in some West African countries.
He said President Mahama also deserved commendation for assisting the people of Burkina Faso to return their nation to a state of normalcy after the uprising that resulted in the resignation of President Blaise Compaore.
The two Presidents characterised the visit as the reopening of a new and promising chapter in Ghana-Kenya relations, to build on the pre-independence bonds established by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Kenya’s founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta thanked President Mahama for his three-day visit, from December 11-14, 2014 which is the first ever by a sitting Ghanaian Head of State.
In his response, President Mahama extended a reciprocal invitation to his host to visit Ghana, at a date to be agreed on by both governments.
On arrival at the State House, President Mahama inspected a guard of honour mounted by troops from the Kenya Defence Forces and received a twenty-one gun salute.
Earlier on Friday morning, President Mahama laid a wreath at the mausoleum of the late Kenyan President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The two presidents also toured the vast compound of the Kenya National Youth Service, where thousands of Kenyan youth are trained and deployed every year into various sectors and communities.
The leaders inspected heavy equipment and trucks that are used for the construction of boreholes and roads in deprived communities, such as the Kibera slum area in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, President Mahama has arrived in Nigeria, to chair the end-of-year summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The meeting will review the major activities of the year including the security situation in the sub-region and the fight against Ebola.
The one-day summit which opens today, December 15, 2014, will also discuss the situation in Burkina Faso and the election of the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority for 2015.
A release issued in Accra yesterday, signed by Mr Ben Dotse Malor, Head of Communications and Presidential Spokesperson, said President Mahama was met on arrival by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Supervising Minister for Information, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed.
Other who met him included the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for West Africa, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.