India, Kenya ink 5 pacts; New Delhi announces USD 250 mn LoC for Kenyan agri sector

New Delhi: India on Tuesday announced a USD 250 million line of credit to Kenya for modernisation of its agricultural sector as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto agreed to shore up bilateral ties in areas of defence, trade, energy, digital public infrastructure and healthcare.

Following the Modi-Ruto talks, the two sides signed five pacts providing for cooperation in a range of areas including sports, education and digital solution, and unveiled a joint vision document to scale up maritime engagement in the Indian Ocean region.

The Kenyan side offered, in line with Kenyan laws, to provide land to Indian companies and institutions for cultivation of crops, including millets.

In order to enhance bilateral economic engagement as well as to finance projects under development partnership, the two leaders also discussed the need to use local currencies for trade.

In his media statement, Modi said India has been a ”reliable and committed” development partner for Kenya and that New Delhi is fully prepared to share its achievements in digital public infrastructure with the east African nation.

”As two agrarian economies, we agreed to share our experiences. We have also decided to provide a Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 250 million to modernise Kenya’s agricultural sector,” he said.

At a media briefing, Dammu Ravi, secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said the Kenyan side offered land for farming by Indian companies under a cooperative model besides showing interest in India’s payment system UPI (Unified Payments Interface).

A joint statement said ”Kenya offered, in line with Kenyan laws, to provide land to Indian companies and institutions for cultivation of crops, including millets, in Kenya.” ”The government of India undertook to encourage Indian companies for investment in the sector, including in equipment and technology on mutually agreed terms. Both sides noted that enhancing bilateral agricultural cooperation would increase bilateral trade and contribute to food security in Kenya,” it said.

In his media statement, the prime minister said India and Kenya are ”unanimous” that terrorism is the most serious challenge facing humanity and both sides have decided to increase counter-terror cooperation.

”Africa has always been given a high priority position in India’s foreign policy. Over the last decade or so, we have increased our cooperation with Africa in mission mode,” Modi said.

”Today, we decided to strengthen our cooperation in all fields, laying the foundation for a progressive future. And also identified many new initiatives,” he said.

The prime minister said both sides also deliberated on defence cooperation and emphasised on military exercises, capacity building as well as linking the defence industries of both the countries.

He said close cooperation between Kenya and India will strengthen ”all our efforts in the Indo-Pacific”.

The prime minister said approximately 80,000 people of Indian origin in Kenya, who consider that country as their second home, are the ”biggest strength” of the ties. In the talks, Ruto invited Indian companies to take advantage of the conducive and attractive environment to invest in Kenya, especially in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health, green energy and green mobility sectors. The joint statement said the Kenyan side thanked India for extending concessional Lines of Credit (LOC) for projects in sectors such as energy and textiles and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

”In supporting agriculture, one of the key pillars of the bilateral partnership, India agreed to extend a new LOC of USD 250 million to the government of Kenya for agricultural mechanisation projects in line with Kenya’s national development priorities,” it said.

The statement said considering that healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors represent important areas of bilateral trade, both leaders discussed the possibility of facilitating increased Indian investments into Kenya in these sectors, including for development of health infrastructure and medical equipment production. ”This would greatly augment access to affordable healthcare for Kenyans,” it said.

On defence cooperation, the joint statement said the two leaders also noted with appreciation the recently concluded MoU between Goa Shipyard Ltd and Kenya Shipyard Ltd that will pave the way for mutually beneficial commercial ventures and also support Kenyan interest in developing shipbuilding, repair, and maintenance capacities.

”Both sides emphasised the urgent need for reform of the United Nations Security Council, in both permanent and non-permanent membership categories, to reflect the current realities and to make it credible, representative and effective,” it said.