NAIROBI, Kenya and Egypt have agreed to increase bilateral trade to cement their historic ties that date back to the pre-colonial days.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Kenya and Egypt are working on concluding agreements that will remove hurdles hindering trade and investment between the two countries.

The two leaders spoke Saturday when they addressed a joint press briefing at State House, Nairobi, after leading their delegations in bilateral talks.

President Kenyatta expressed the need for the two countries to implement agreements they have signed in the past and finalize others especially on avoidance of double taxation and on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments.

“It is not enough to sign agreements. We need to ensure they are fully implemented for the mutual benefit of the people of our two countries,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta and President El-Sisi agreed that the Kenya-Egypt Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) – which is in its sixth cycle – was right vehicle for promoting political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries.

The two leaders said Kenya and Egypt would also work together to expand their areas of cooperation including the fight against violent extremism and radicalization in Africa.

“Kenya recognizes Egypt’s good work in combating these vices, and I reiterated our desire to partner in that work,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta applauded the technical cooperation between Kenya and Egypt, noting that Kenyan public workers have benefitted from training opportunities in specialized fields of health, agriculture, security, ICT and diplomacy through the Egyptian Partnership Agency for Development.

On his part, the Egyptian leader – who arrived in the morning for his first State Visit to Kenya – said Egypt was keen to increase its trade with Kenya, saying that was a key element in enhancing the historical bonds between the two countries.

President El Sisi also reaffirmed Egypt’s support to Kenya in the war against terrorism as well as ensuring regional peace.

“We have agreed to intensify our efforts to ensure peace and security in South Sudan and in Somalia,” President El Sisi said.

The Egyptian leader said his country will also remain steadfast in providing technical assistance to Kenya.

He assured President Kenyatta on Egypt’s support in ensuring that the UN offices in Nairobi (UNEP and UN-HABITAT) – the only UN headquarters in the entire global South – are strengthened.

After the press briefing, the Egyptian leader was hosted to a State luncheon at State House, Nairobi, by President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta before he visited the UN offices in Nairobi.