Ruto meets Morocco Prime Minister, Aziz for bilateral talks

President William Ruto on Wednesday met with Morocco’s Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch for bilateral talks in Dakar, Senegal.

The president who is attending the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit, discussed relations between the two nations in areas of trade, agriculture, health, tourism, and energy.

“We commit to accelerate and strengthen our strategic ties for the shared benefit of the citizens of the two countries,” said the president in a tweet.

The meeting between the two leaders is the first since President Ruto’s now-deleted controversial tweet that suggested a shift in policy to rescinding recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

A day after President Ruto took office, he tweeted, “Kenya rescinds its recognition of the SADR and initiates steps to wind down the entity’s presence in the country.”

This was posted after he had earlier met Sahrawi President Brahim Ghali, who attended his inauguration, and later Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry quickly responded, dismissing the tweet and stating that Kenya has not abandoned a decades-old policy in which it supported the African Union’s call for the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.

Former Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau stated that Nairobi will continue to support the African Union’s call, as well as UN mediation programs, to allow the people of Western Sahara to decide their future.

“Kenya’s position on the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is fully aligned with the decision of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) to admit SADR to its membership on  August 22, 1982, and the AU Charter which calls for the unquestionable and inalienable right of a people to self-determination.”

Ruto has been on a charm offensive to increase markets for Kenyan products, and the latest meeting with Morocco’s PM is expected to follow suit, with trade between the two countries heavily weighted in favour of the latter.

Kenya’s exports to Morocco have increased at an annualized rate of 17.5 percent over the last 25 years, from $186,000 in 1995 to $10.4M in 2020; however, Kenya’s imports from Morocco remain high.

Kenya spent $17 million on imports. Mixed mineral or chemical fertilizers ($12.5 million), Polyacetals ($1.94 million), and Refined Petroleum ($1.4 million) are among the products.

Sowing Seeds ($5.3M), Coconut and Other Vegetable Fibers ($2.45M), and Jute and Other Textile Fibers ($1.49M) were the top three products exported from Kenya to Morocco.


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