President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
Thank you for coming here to work with us.
First of all, I would like to note that the history of friendly ties between Russia and Kenya goes back to the moment when Kenya gained independence, which was proclaimed by your father, Mr President, first President of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta.
And a day later, diplomatic ties were established, on December 12 and December 14, 1963, accordingly. I am sure that our meeting will give a boost to the further strengthening of Russian-Kenyan cooperation.
I remember my conversation with the Prime Minister of Kenya back in June 2012. Our countries’ parliaments also make their contribution to the development of bilateral ties. I hope that this cooperation between our parliaments will also continue and will create favourable conditions for the development of our relations. By the way, two Russian-Kenyan business forums were held at the parliamentarians’ initiative, in 2011 and 2012, which I think deserves our full support.
Of course, we believe the development of trade and economic ties and stable growth of mutual trade is the priority. Last year it grew only a little, but it was still 1.2 percent growth. We are glad that several Russian companies have gained a foothold in the Kenyan market.
I hope we will get a chance to discuss this in more detail today.
President of Kenya Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta: Thank you very much and let me once again say that, on my own behalf and on behalf of my delegation, we are very grateful to you, your government and the people of Russia for the very warm welcome that we have received since we arrived in this beautiful city. And, indeed, to also say that I am confident that this initiative that you started to host this first Russia-Africa economic forum and summit, I believe, will present not just Russia and Kenya but Russia and Africa with significant opportunities to really re-shape and expand our relations, both at the bilateral level, as I said, and multilateral level, but also to rekindle, in your own words, the historic relations between Russia and Africa.
Indeed, again as you’ve stated, Africa’s aspiration for freedom and liberty was greatly enriched by the relationship with Russia. Our founding fathers, including my own father Jomo Kenyatta, drew great vision from the Soviet Union, and for that we remain grateful. We wouldn’t have achieved what we achieved at that time without the support that we received from the Soviet Union, the then Soviet Union.
To preserve this history and heritage, indeed, one of the requests I want to put to you is we would like you to facilitate collation and retrieval of some of the information and material that may be here, in Russia, relating to the activities and the histories of Kenya’s freedom fighters, including that of Jomo Kenyatta. That is something that we would truly appreciate and, at some stage, would like to send some of our officials to work with your own historians and archivists to see what we can do to put that history together and preserve it for posterity.
Mr President, I also believe that this forum you have organised offers again, to Russia and Africa, the opportunity to focus on ways and means of expanding our political, economic, technical, cultural and educational interests in a manner that serves both our countries and promotes Russia’s partnership with the African Union.