Kenyan President William Ruto is scheduled to embark on his inaugural official visit to India on December 5. The visit aims to strengthen the existing bilateral ties between the two nations, with a particular focus on enhancing defense and trade relations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s previous visit to Kenya in July 2016 laid the groundwork for this upcoming diplomatic exchange.
India and Kenya, sharing maritime boundaries, have actively engaged in collaborations, as exemplified by the Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 29 between Goa Shipyard Limited and Kenya Shipyard Limited. This agreement focuses on capacity building and cooperation in ship design and construction. Notably, discussions during President Ruto’s visit will also delve into the possibility of facilitating trade in local currencies. The President is expected to meet with Prime Minister Modi and President Draupadi Murmu, among other dignitaries, during his visit.
The historical context of India-Kenya trade relations dates back to 1981, marked by a bilateral trade agreement that granted Most Favored Nation status to both nations. The India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee (JTC), established in 1983, has convened nine times, with the most recent meeting taking place in August 2019 in New Delhi. India has been a significant trading partner for Kenya, with bilateral trade reaching $4.235 billion in 2014-15. Key exports from India to Kenya include petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, steel products, machinery, yarn, vehicles, and power transmission equipment, while Kenya exports items like soda ash, vegetables, tea, leather, and metal scrap to India.