These are official opening remarks delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa during the State Visit to the Republic of Kenya on 9 November 2022…
Your Excellency, Dr William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya,
Members of the governments of Kenya and South Africa,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to sincerely thank you, Your Excellency, for inviting me to Kenya and for receiving me warmly on this State Visit.
May I congratulate you on your election as the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya.
May you enjoy good health, strength and success in your term of office as you take forward the hopes and aspirations of all Kenyans.
This State Visit demonstrates the strength and significance of our bilateral relations.
This visit takes place barely a year after a very successful State Visit to South Africa by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in November last year.
It is our wish that the historic and excellent relations between our two countries will continue to prosper under your stewardship.
Our bilateral relations are founded on the principles of solidarity, mutual respect and common values.
We share a commitment to advance democracy, good governance, Pan-Africanism, human rights and the emancipation of women.
This State Visit is an opportunity to assess progress on the implementation of decisions taken during last year’s State Visit, including addressing the trade balance between our two countries, investment opportunities and migration.
I am advised that our Government ministries are in regular consultation with each other on these and other issues.
In this regard, we note that our Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has received a list of products from its Kenyan counterpart that Kenya would like to export to South Africa and that these are being considered by our officials.
There have been engagements and reciprocal visits between Transnet Engineering and Kenya Railways and our respective government printing works with a view to the purchase of products and services.
We are also aware of progress between South African Airways and Kenya Airways to give effect to the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by the two airlines in November last year.
Nine agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed at the State Visit last year.
Today we will witness the signing of agreements and MoUs in the areas of Correctional and Prison Services, Housing and Human Settlements, Arts and Culture, and Schools of Government.
These agreements show the diverse nature of our cooperation.
I look forward to the Business Forum taking place later today.
This will allow our private sectors and state-owned companies to explore new opportunities to trade and invest.
As leading economies in our respective regions, South Africa and Kenya have a key role to play in resuscitating economic activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa and Kenya should work together for African economic integration by substantially increasing trade and investment between our two countries.
We are witnessing how global power relations are being realigned.
The conflict in Ukraine has caused volatility in the global economy and has badly affected developing economies.
We cannot allow these global dynamics to distract us from the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
In the current circumstances, the need for global solidarity, the reinforcement of multilateralism, the reform of the United Nations system and a rules-based international order have become much more important and urgent.
Your Excellency, I applaud the stance you took at the UN General Assembly in September, when you called for a United Nations that is “fit-for-purpose” and that will legitimately and efficiently deal with threats to international peace and security.
As we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the African Union, our Continent is still confronted by many social, economic, political and security challenges.
We note important progress made on the Continent over the last two decades, but we are also aware of the need to improve good governance, promote peace and stability and strengthen democracy.
South Africa and Kenya should work with other like-minded countries to defend the core values and interests of the AU and to ensure its strategic focus is directed at the social and economic development of the Continent.
Global developments underline the urgent need to operationalise the African Continental Free Trade Area, which presents enormous opportunities to grow intra-Africa trade and encourage the industrialisation and diversification of African economies.
The prosperity of our Continent and the aspirations of our people can only be realised in an atmosphere of peace, security and development.
South Africa is concerned about security developments in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and calls on all parties to immediately refrain from any armed conflict, respect the territorial integrity of the DRC and engage in dialogue to resolve differences.
South Africa supports Kenya, as the former chair of the East African Community and co-convener of the Inter-Congolese Consultations of the Nairobi Process, in its efforts to reduce tensions and to promote peace and stability.
Equally, South Africa calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access and a negotiated resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia.
Your Excellency, we are most pleased that you have appointed your predecessor, former President Uhuru Kenyatta, as a peace envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia to continue his work in steering peace efforts in the region.
In conclusion, Your Excellency, I wish to express my appreciation once again for inviting me to this State Visit and for the warm hospitality shown to me and my delegation.
I look forward to fruitful discussions with a view to further strengthening the already friendly and productive relations between South Africa and Kenya.
Working together, we will be able to achieve much more for the benefit for our peoples and the Continent.
I thank you.