NAIROBI – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will make a state visit to Kenya this week.
He will be in the county on Wednesday and Thursday for bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Museveni is the first leader to visit Kenya after Uhuru was sworn in for the second and final term in office on November 28 in Kasarani Stadium.
He attended Uhuru’s inauguration, and when he was asked to address the gathering on behalf of African leaders, he told Kenyans to move on and develop the country.
“You can’t eat politics,” he said in Kasarani.
Uganda is Kenya’s largest trade partner in the region and according to sources, business issues will feature prominently during the visit.
“President Kenyatta is looking to build on the already strong relationship between the two countries. Issues like Uganda picking its cargo from Nairobi’s new Internal Container Depot after arrival via the SGR will take a centre stage,” a source familiar with the plans of the visit said.
On Saturday, Uhuru launched the ultra-modern Inland Container Depot in Embakasi and offered 50 per cent discount to exporters who will use the facility. The facility was upgraded at a cost of Sh22 billion.
He said to support exporters, Kenya will offer 50 per cent discount for transporting goods from the Nairobi Inland Container Depot and the Port of Mombasa.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows Kenya’s exports to Uganda declined by 20 per cent in the first 10 months of 2016. The Leading Economic Indicators report has raised fears that the country is losing its grip on its biggest market for locally produced products.
In 2015, Kenya’s exports to Uganda were valued at Sh68.6 billion, up from Sh60.7 billion in 2014.
And while Kenya’s total exports between January and October 2015 were worth Sh52.2 billion, this dropped in the 10 months to October last year to Sh41.8 billion.
The decline was an indicator of the changing face of trade relations between Kenya and Uganda.
In August this year, Kenya declared to boost regional trade by improving efficiency and clearance of cargo and passengers on the Northern Corridor by opening a one-stop-border-post with Uganda at the Suam Crossing in Northwest Kenya.
The upgrading of the Suam border post is coming slightly over one year after that of Busia and Malaba.
The Suam border is a major entry and exit point between Kenya and Uganda.
The issue of 5,000 Kenyans who fled to Uganda for fear of violence during the repeat presidential election is also expected to be discussed during the visit.
The Busia Uganda District police commander Ezra Tugume said the fleeing Kenyans have sought refuge in Sofia and Marachi villages.
There have also been security issues involving Ugandan forces and Kenyans in Turkana, Migingo and Busia.