The visiting Indian speaker Om Birla left the country today after concluding a two days state visit in Kenya
Birla who is the the 7th and current Speaker of the Lok Sabha also serves as a Member of Parliament from Kota-Bundi constituency in Rajasthan India.
During the visit, the Speaker held meetings with the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula and his Senate counterpart Amason Kingi where they held talks on how to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.
Kenya and India bilateral trades go way back to 1963 and during a state visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016, that gave a fresh impetus to bilateral partnership that saw the two nations sign seven deals on the fields of defense, trade and developmental assistance for mutual benefit of the countries
In a press statement from the Indian High Commission, the meeting by the speakers from the two countries which materialized after an invitation from the Speaker of the National Assembly in Kenya agreed to take forward parliamentary exchanges and training of parliamentarians and parliamentary staffs in India that culminated with an invitation for Kenyan parliamentary delegation to visit the Asian country.
During the visit, the Speaker paid a call to the President Dr. William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua where they exchanged views on the existing strong connections between the two countries and the opportunities to further accelerate cooperation in priority sectors like education, healthcare, SMEs, infrastructure development, technology, agriculture, capacity building, and tackling climate change.
“Under bilateral development cooperation, India has already extended four Lines of Credit amounting to USD 206 million to Kenya in agriculture, power, and SMEs”, the statement said .
According to the statement, the positive contribution of the Indian origin community in Kenya was also recognized by both sides during the meetings.
The speaker was also able to visit the University of Nairobi to pay floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his statue inside the campus and got an opportunity to addressed students.
During the visit the speaker gifted 75 books on India and the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi in electronic format including 100 volumes of Gandhi’s writings to the Mahatma Gadhi library.
During the visit a separate interaction with Kenyan alumni who have studied in India was also held and highlighted the rich and long standing educational exchanges between both countries.
Kenya has been a net importer from India with imports and exports reaching USD 1.7 billion and USD 53 million, respectively, in 2019. Imports from India are dominated by petroleum oils while the. Exports to India have recently been dominated by disodium carbonates, which grew from less than USD 1,000 in 2015 to USD 21 million in 2019.
By Wangari Ndirangu