Ruto hosts Pedro Sánchez, first ever Spanish PM to visit Kenya

President William Ruto on Wednesday hosted the first Spanish Prime Minister to visit Kenya, Pedro Sánchez for bilateral talks at the State House in Nairobi.

Sánchez was accompanied by among others trade and tourism minister Reyes Maroto on his maiden trip to Kenya. He expressed his excitement about being the first Spanish prime minister to visit the country.

“I am honoured to be the first ever Spanish Prime Minister to visit Kenya,” said Sánchez.

The two leaders discussed ways of improving the economic relationship between the two countries. Ruto asked his Spanish counterpart for cooperation on the blue economy as Kenya works to scale up the sector. Spain is among the leading blue economies with around 944, 255 people employed in the sector which generates over Euros 32.7 billion (KES 3.97 trillion).

Experts estimate that the blue economy if used properly, has the potential to inject up to 4.8 billion US dollars to Kenya’s economy and create over 52,000 jobs in the next 10 years something that is not lost to the Kenya Kwanza administration.

Ruto extends his invitation to Spain urging the country to use Kenya as its gateway to Africa. He further asked his counterpart to aid Kenya in understanding how to progress the East African Community into a common market and eventually a federation.

“As a region, we are all systems go in ensuring we build this region as a common market and a federation. We look forward to learning from you how to consolidate our market and how we can progress this region to a level of a federation,” said Ruto.

During the talks, Kenya pledged to join International Drought Resilience Alliance envisioned as a collaborative platform to rally political momentum and trigger actions that support countries, cities, and communities to enable this shift and significantly reduce their vulnerability, impact, and exposure to extreme drought.

The alliance will be launched at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference in Egypt on November 7, but the Spanish President has expressed his vigor on the alliance’s ability to promote innovation, technology transfer, and the mobilization of resources to combat drought in countries exposed to this threat.

The two heads of government said they want a quick resolution to the Ukrainian war that has rendered many Ukrainians homeless, claimed  6,374 civilians, and devastated supply chains of grain globally.

Sánchez earlier on Wednesday met with Kenya-based representatives of Spanish firms in the capital, where he discussed business challenges and opportunities that are opening in other sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energies, and the agribusiness industry.

He is expected to plant a tree at the United Nations and hold a meeting with a group of Spanish scientists at the Industrial Research and Development Center.

Sanchez will head to South Africa next for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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