Nairobi — In April 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E. President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo held bilateral talks in Kinshasa, Congo. At the event, the two countries signed a Defence agreement and held technical consultations about ways they can partner to boost both countries’ food security. Food security remains one of the key pillars of President Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda.
This was followed by a trade mission to the DRC by a delegation from Kenya. The delegation consisted of a group from the Ministry of Trade, members of the business community, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Cooperatives.
The purpose of this meeting was to map opportunities for bilateral trade, investment, and opportunities in trade and agriculture. This mission opened successful bilateral technical consultations between the two countries, with Kenya represented by Agriculture CAS, Ms. Anne Nyaga, and the DRC represented by Special Envoy to the President, H.E. Prof. Serge Tshibangu.
With the DRC being a net importer of food, and Kenya seeking a market for its products, both countries had an opportunity to form a mutually-beneficial relationship. The DRC has a predominantly mining mindset among its population, and there is an opportunity where Kenya can lend its expertise, and shift the mindset to food production too.
These talks have finally resulted in the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement in the agriculture sector between the two countries. The agreement was signed today at State House, Nairobi. Present at the signing were the Heads of State of both countries, H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E. President Felix Tshisekedi.
Also present were the Minister of Agriculture from the DRC, Mzinga Birihanze Desire, his counterpart Bokele Djema Adrien (Fisheries & Livestock), and Cabinet Secretary Rachel Omamo, there to represent Agriculture CS Peter Munya. Also there at the signing were Agriculture CAS, Ms. Anne Nyaga, Special Envoy to the President of the DRC, Prof. Serge Tshibangu, Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau, and Kenyan Ambassador of Kenya to DRC, George Masafu.
At the ceremony, the DRC also finally signed the treaty to join the East Africa Community. They join Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda, to form one of the largest economic blocs in Africa. Their membership will increase bilateral trade between the DRC and the other member states, and allow free movement of goods, services, and people.
Among the items in the agreement, was that Kenya would help the DRC to create and implement youth programs to encourage children at a young age to learn and understand the culture of food production. These include concepts similar to the 4-K Clubs of Kenya, now active in Kenyan primary schools.
Other areas of cooperation between the two countries include crop development and promotion, and livestock research. The two countries also agreed to enhance their cooperative development, and the development of aquaculture, fisheries, and the blue economy.
The countries promised to share joint ventures and investments for their mutual benefit, to market and trade agricultural commodities, to share agricultural engineering services, and to create value addition and agro-processing.