Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta today promised their citizens a level of cooperation and a speed of implementation that will shock the technocrats who will oversee the activities.
In fact, both Ms. Mottley and Mr. Kenyatta, who were having bilateral talks, explained that in informal discussions earlier they had already agreed on a number of areas of cooperation for which the technocrats were yet to start drawing up the documentation.
The two leaders made their positions clear this morning after they signed three Memoranda of Understanding; served notice that a number of others would be completed within weeks; confirmed that officials from both countries would be visiting each other early in January and noted that other Caribbean countries and the wider African community would factor significantly in all moves.
While Ms. Mottley was in the country since late last week attending a number of events related to the just concluded African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group summit, this morning she started a state visit with the review of guard of honour mounted by the Kenyan military.
She later laid a wreath at the memorial of former President Jomo Kenyatta as well as addressed a group of senior officers of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, before planting a tree there.
As soon as the year opens, they revealed the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya will be travelling to Barbados, along with officials of the Securities Exchange Commission, to finalise matters relating to cooperation and regulation that would pave the way for Kenyan banking institutions to invest in Barbados in areas that will include commercial services and correspondent banking.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley gives remarks at a joint press conference with His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, in the State House, Nairobi, Kenya. (PMO)
Additionally, the Prime Minister pointed out that the Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, The Most Honourable Eudine Barriteau and the team from the university will be in Kenya early in the new year to complete arrangements with the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University to allow student doctors to intern in that African country, while medical students from Kenya would complete their training in Barbados.
The universities will also finalise arrangements in a number of other areas related to business studies, while other officials will work on plans for exchanges between primary and secondary schools.
The leaders also promised speedy progress of creating air and sea links between Africa and the Caribbean, mechanisms to streamline tax systems for companies doing business in the two jurisdictions, and a new draft MOU on trade and investment.
They also promised an initiative that could transform mobile banking in Barbados and the rest of the region, the execution of provisions of an MOU relating to Barbados’ National Botanical Garden, a draft MOU on ICT, and the planning for the first ever CARICOM/ African Union Summit next year.
At a joint press conference after their talks, Ms. Mottley explained: “But the people of our countries will ask, what does that mean for us? How do these agreements change the quality of our lives from day to day? And the truth is that this is just the architecture that we are building to be able to unleash the potential of our two peoples.
“Yesterday, we had the good fortune of being hosted by the Governor of the Central Bank and the indigenous banks of Kenya and some of the Fintech companies. And we will host your indigenous banks within six weeks in Barbados to begin to explore the opportunities of them investing into our part of the world.”
Ms. Mottley added: “I believe that this is the beginning of a true, true partnership that can make the difference not just to the people of Kenya and to the people of Barbados, but I believe that we are, by taking hold of our future, saying to the rest of the world that the centuries of separation must now be left on the books of history rather than be part and parcel of our arrangements for the future. And to that extent, if we can solidify the transport links by building the air and sea bridges, then I believe we will be unlocking the potential of our two regions.”
Roy R. Morris
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister