DIPLOMACY

Why Uhuru visits Ethiopia more than any other country

Leaders of the two countries are working to enhance and integrate bilateral relations

In Summary

• The two neighbouring countries enjoy excellent political relations

President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the IGAD-led South Sudan peace talks, June 21, 2018
President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the IGAD-led South Sudan peace talks, June 21, 2018
Image: PSCU

Kenya has enjoyed a good relationship with its neighbour Ethiopia for decades. Though divided by artificial boundaries, their people have shared dreams and aspirations, says Ethiopian Ambassador Meles Alem.

In an interview with the Star, the envoy said this relationship is not just for neighbours but of close families and siblings just living in two countries. He said as the leaders of the two countries work to enhance and integrate the bilateral relations, the people-to-people relations founded by the founding fathers has remained critical. Kenya has stood with Ethiopia in all her struggles.

"Our diplomatic ties are punctuated by our consistent relationship, which is undaunted. Ethiopia and Kenya have not been in any form of conflict and that is the relationship that has kept us strong,” he said.

 

Alem said the abolition of visas for the past 55 years has also enhanced deep ties. This, he said, has allowed Ethiopians easy access to Kenya and vice versa.

“We also enjoy excellent political relations. It is evident that President Uhuru Kenyatta has visited Ethiopia more than any other country in his state visits. This can only be attributed to the strong ties,” he said.

The ambassador said infrastructure connectivity like electricity and the Lapsset project are game-changers that have provided equal opportunity for trade and investment.

“It is true that trade favours Kenya, but it should be noted that Ethiopia provides a conducive environment for Kenyans. It is a big market with over 100 million people,” he said.

“Kenya has a vibrant private enterprise that has made its way to Ethiopia. Though we might be having small issues to do with security, the environment remains dependable and safe.”

Alem said though Ethiopia has a big trainable youth population, his government is working to put measures in place for economic reforms that would attract more foreign investors.

 

“In Kenya, we have Ethiopian investors who have taken over the hotel industry. Others are doing well in transport and real estate, among others,” he said.