- Speaker's office said the talks centred on maritime trade given Yemen's strategic position and controlling stake of major trading routes to Europe via the Red Sea.
- The meeting came at a time Kenyan government is battling cartels in the coffee subsector who have held farmers at ransom for years
Kenya and Yemen are working on modalities to strengthen trade ties particularly in the coffee and tea subsectors anchored on strong historical and mutual interest between the two nations.
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula on Wednesday hosted the Yemeni Minister for Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Ahmed Bin Mubarak in his office at Parliament Buildings where they held discussions on the matter.
In a statement, the Speaker's office said the talks centered on maritime trade given Yemen's strategic position and controlling stake of major trading routes to Europe via the Red Sea.
"Kenya sees the Middle East as an important market for its products, and this collaboration aims to strengthen business ties and potentially lead to investment and job opportunities in Kenya," the speaker's press office said in a statement.
The meeting came at a time Kenyan government is battling cartels in the coffee subsector who have held farmers at ransom for years by purchasing their coffee at low prices and selling them to international markets at higher prices.
The reforms led by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua are aimed at eliminating middle men and connecting farmers directly to foreign markets to ensure maximum returns on investments.
Wetang'ula said Kenya is deliberate about engaging with its Middle East friends in recognisition of their significance as a market for Kenyan coffee and tea, and as transshipment points to other markets.
He said the visit by the Yemeni Minister reflects a commitment to enhancing business and trade relations, with Kenya serving as a gateway to the East African trading bloc.
"We as Kenya have a deliberate policy to engage our Middle East friends, very important for trade and a big market for our coffee and tea. Even when they don't consume our products they have acted as a major transshipment to other markets," the Speaker said.
He encouraged Yemen to invest in Kenya, collaborate in food production and establish trading hubs within the country.
Wetang'ula said this will not only earn the country foreign exchange but also result in business and job opportunities for Kenyans.
The Speaker also expressed his hope for peace in Yemen, as stability in the region directly impacts Kenya.
"Peace for Yemen is peace in Kenya and if there is no peace in Yemen, Kenya will be affected in many ways," Wetang'ula observed.
Present during the meeting were National Assembly Deputy Speaker Glady Boss, Yemen's Charge d'Affairs Abdulsalam Alawi, and Yemen Honorary Consulate Sheikh Saleh Shigog.
The Speaker's remarks came at a time the Middle East is grappling with a delegate security situation following an escalation of the Israel-Palestine war that has so far resulted in a combined fatality of nearly 5,000 people.
Yemen lies 2,211 km South of Israel and is among Arab countries that surround the tiny Jewish state.
Observers have warned that the Israel-Hamas war could explode into a regional conflict and rope in neighbouring Arab states if nothing is urgently done to quell rising animosity.
Threats by Israel to launch a ground offensive inside the Gaza Strip in pursuit of Palestinian militants has served to further exacerbate tensions between the two warring sides and their allies.
The conflict was sparked by a surprise ground, air and sea offensive on Israel by Hamas militants on October 7 that resulted in the death of at least 1,400 Israel citizens.
Israel responded with a barrage of air and ground artillery fire killing at least 3,000 Palestinians and the death toll is rising by the day.