NAIROBI – JPrime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Tokyo’s cooperation in developing a key port in southern Kenya on Sunday in talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Japan attaches importance to developing Mombasa port, a gateway to the East African market, and strengthening ties with Kenya amid China’s growing economic influence in the fast-growing, resource-rich continent.
To promote the operations of Japanese businesses in Kenya, Abe also conveyed Tokyo’s intention to accelerate efforts to sign a bilateral treaty on avoidance of double taxation.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of a Japan-led international conference on the continent’s development that wrapped up earlier Sunday in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The two countries also signed a bilateral investment treaty. Japan pledged further support for the Ol Karia geothermal power development projects through a loan and technical cooperation.
Abe’s visit to Kenya was the first by a Japanese prime minister in 15 years.
With Japan bidding to become a permanent veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, the two leaders agreed to cooperate in reforming the body, of which Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only permanent members.
Japan is looking to gain the support of African countries that make up around a third of total votes in the United Nations.
Following the talks, Abe and Kenyatta released a joint statement that noted the expansion of bilateral trade and investment, and Japan’s exports of “quality infrastructure” leading to job creation and capacity-building in Kenya.
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