NAIROBI, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Turkey have signed a raft of protocols aimed at increasing cooperation and bilateral trade between the two countries.
The protocols also will address the trade imbalance between the two countries that is in favor of Turkey and whose volume currently stands at 250 million U.S. dollars.
Addressing a joint press conference in Nairobi on Saturday, the visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the protocols covered trade and economic development, aviation and in the health sector.
They said under the trade and economic development Turkey would increase investments in infrastructure development, textile industry, agricultural machinery and equipment, building, tourism, construction and pharmaceuticals, among others, while Kenya would export more horticultural produce to Turkey and increase other trade ties.
In the aviation protocol, the Turkish airlines will begin weekly flights to Nairobi likewise Kenya Airways will be flying to Turkey on a weekly basis. It was also agreed that holders of service passports from both countries be exempted from visas.
President Gul who was leading more than 120 businessmen to Kenya observed that Kenya was a key entry point in this region adding the legal and economic reforms being undertaken in the country were conducive for investments.
"These reforms are necessary in attracting foreign investors to this country and I can assure you that through the Turkish International Co-operation Agency (TICA) Turkey would invest in Kenya's economic development," President Gul told journalists in Nairobi.
He noted that Turkey had a responsibility towards Africa and attributed Turkey's election to the United Nations Security Council to the support they received from African countries.
Noting that Kenya's position in the region was pivotal, President Gul observed that other than being a hub and an entry point to the region, the country hosted the biggest UN office outside New York.
The Turkish leader announced a donation of one million dollars through the World Food Programme towards Kenya's famine relief efforts.
"Our relations are not only confined to economic development, we must all take moral responsibility to help each other in all social endeavors as a community of nations," said Gul.
Speaking during the occasion, Odinga expressed the government's commitment in improving the business climate for both local and foreign investors adding the government was convinced that economic growth could only be achieved through prosperous private sector.
He said it was in the realization of this fact that the government had developed a private sector development strategy whose aim was to create an environment conducive for private sector growth.
The PM also said the government had eliminated 315 business licenses in 2007 and simplified 379 others in a move that has cut both time and cost of doing business in the country.
He encouraged Turkish business people to take advantage of Kenya's favorable position in the region noting that it has an easy access to the rest of Africa region and to international markets in Europe Asia and USA.
"It also has adequate availability of business facilitation support services namely finance, insurance and transport," he added.
Odinga pointed out that Kenya has a highly developed and well diversified human resource base and belonged to the East African Community with a population of 100 million people and COMESA with a population of about 500 million people.
"These huge markets represent enormous opportunities for investments in areas such as Tourism, Infrastructure, Information and Communication Technology, Horticulture and Financial Services," he said.