Boosting bilateral ties: Colombia Vice President makes historic maiden visit to Kenya

Colombia Vice-President Madam Francia Elena Márquez Mina arrived in Kenya Sunday evening for a three-day official visit that is aimed at boosting existing bilateral ties between the two countries.

The visiting Vice President will be hosted by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and the two leaders are set to explore various ways to strengthen the relations enjoyed by the two nations.

Francia Elena Márquez Mina was received at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday by East Africa Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano.

Kenya and Colombia have enjoyed warm and cordial relations since 1967 when the two countries established initial relations.

The Vice President’s maiden visit to Kenya is set to reinforce the ties as the countries look to improve trade and increase bilateral exchanges in various fields of mutual interest.

The VP’s visit follows a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations signed by the two countries in 2021 whose main objective is enhancing the partnership and engagements between them.

“It is a great honour to host Her Excellency the Vice President of Colombia on her historic and maiden tour to Africa, which aims to bring Africa and particularly our two countries closer together,” said Gachagua ahead of the visit.

During her stay, the Colombia Vice President will hold talks with Mr Gachagua that will centre on boosting trade and investment and sharing best practices, especially on economic models for the transformation of the two countries’ economies and cultural exchanges.
The two leaders will also address a business forum before being hosted by President William Ruto at the State House where a number of bilateral instruments will be signed in the presence of the Head of State.

The Kenya Kwanza administration led by President William Ruto shares similarities with the government of Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Vice President Francia Márquez Mina
Both governments came into office in the second half of last year upsetting many odds set against them. The governments are established on improving the lives of the downtrodden and giving hope to those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
Ms Mina rose from a housekeeper to occupy the second highest office, having campaigned on the popular slogan: ‘It’s time for the Nobodies’ which resonates with the Kenya Kwanza’s government’s Bottom-Up agenda.
Despite her humble upbringing, her age and amidst race disparities, she upset the odds stacked against her to win a highly contested election with Colombian President H.E Gustavo Petro and become the first Colombian of African descent to be elected Vice-President.
“Under the premise that all dignity is restored, Vice President Mina is determined to work in improving lives until dignity becomes customary,” the Colombian Embassy in Kenya said in a statement ahead of her visit.

Colombia is implementing a policy termed ‘Reconnecting with Africa’ that aims to bring Africa closer to the South American nation and the Caribbean as a block.

The visit is a furtherance of the cooperation dating decades back.

Currently, the Kenya government is collaborating with the Colombian government in various sectors including agriculture, environment conservation, science and technology, culture and education.

The Kenyan government seeks to cultivate cooperation in these sectors, with a specific focus on the coffee subsector. Kenya has approached Colombia for its expertise in coffee production.

Kenya and Colombia enjoy solid relations and have worked closely in the geopolitical arena signifying the vitality of the ties between the two nations.

Colombia supported Kenya’s candidature at the United Nations Security Council as a Non-Permanent member between 2021-2022.

Colombia is seeking Kenya’s support for its candidature for the United Nations Human Rights Council from 2025 to 2027.

Trade between the two nations has consistently risen. In the last 26 years, Kenya’s exports to Colombia have increased from $98,000 (Sh13.3 million) in 1995 to $2.1M (Sh272 million) in 2021.

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