MAPUTO– Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Mozambique counterpart Jose Condungua Pacheco held bilateral talks on the sidelines of President Uhuru Kenyatta state visit to Mozambique.

The two Ministers held bilateral talks on a wide range of issues of cooperation. The meeting was a follow up to earlier discussions between President Kenyatta and his host President Filipe Nyusi which directed the Ministers to fully engage in the areas of cooperation between Kenya and Mozambique.

During the meeting, it was observed that the Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) entered into and signed in 1991 had not taken off.

The State Visit had provided a new opportunity to operationalise areas of cooperation between the two countries earlier discussed. The joint JCC will now translate into Joint Technical Committees (JTC) that will commence work immediately in preparation for talks to be held in Nairobi in June 2018.

Pacheco thanked Kenya for the pledge to open a consulate in Maputo to further deepen the ties that exist between the two countries, and giving citizenship to Mozambicans who lived in Kenya and now form the 43rd tribe of Kenya.

On Defence pact, it was agreed that Kenya will provide training opportunities for the Mozambican army through the National Defence College (NDC) and National Staff College. On their part, Mozambique said that they were ready to cooperate and share their experiences on defence matters.

On mineral resources, Pacheco disclosed that they have huge deposits and reservoir of natural gas in the southern region of the country most of which is exported to South Africa. Mozambique invited Kenya to consider importing the gas. Mozambique also has huge deposits of coal and is ready to export it to Kenyan through Beira Port.

As part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda, Juma said the President has made a commitment for the government to increase the GDP share of mining from 7 to 15 percent in the next five years. Through cooperation in mining, therefore, Kenya will borrow best practices from Mozambique.

On the issue of correctional services, Mozambique expressed interest in learning the best practices on Kenya’s Justice Reforms system. Mozambique seeks training on how to manage the reintegration process practised in Kenya.

The two Ministers also discussed areas of cooperation in infrastructure, culture and tourism, youth and sports, bilateral air services and food security. Mozambique invited Kenya investors in Agribusiness to take advantage of the available vast tracts of land for floriculture, apiculture and horticulture farming and processing within the value chain.

To increase the volume of trade between the two countries, Juma urged Mozambique to take advantage Kenya’s scrapping of visa requirements for Mozambicans travelling to Kenya which takes immediate effect.