DURBAN, South Africa and Kenya have expressed the desire to boost cooperation and trade relations between the two countries when President Jacob Zuma hosted his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta, at bilateral talks at his private residence in Durban on Thursday.

Trade between the two countries has over the years been in favour of South Africa and now the countries want a levelled playing field.

This was the first overseas visit by Kenyatta since he was re-elected President of Kenya to a second and final five-year term in November last year and his visit to South Africa was to cement co-operation and trade relations between the two countries.

South Africa’s imports from Kenya include tobacco, textile fibres, tea, plastic products and copper. A number of South African companies, including those in the pharmaceutical, banking, engineering and retail sectors are already operating in Kenya.

Peace and security on the continent, especially in war-torn countries also topped the agenda.

We also had a bit of discussion about the situation is one area in the continent, particularly South Sudan, which is quite a challenge to all of us and also other issues,” said Zuma after the talks.

“For example, you are aware that at the European Union-African Union Summit in the Ivory Coast (in November 2017), the issue of the kind of new slavery, particular taking place in Libya, was an issue that Africa cannot allow to happen again. It’s an issue we believe we need to give serious attention to. There are things that we believe need to be done right in the continent, particularly respect for democracy that we have all accepted and how we run our democracies.

Kenyatta said he believed bilateral talks with Zuma would pave the way towards mutual benefit, boost trade relations and infrastructure development between the two countries.

While the two countries have good relations in areas of trade and co-operation, trade between the two countries has over the years been in favour of South Africa and now the two countries want both parties to equally benefit.

We had an opportunity to exchange views on a number of issues largely pertaining to how we can strengthen and deepen the relations between our two countries, how we can work together in the mutual prosperity of our people, increase trade between ourselves. How we can also improve connectivity in our continent because that is something critical to our industrial development which will enable us to create the jobs that our young people require, said Kenyatta.

After their bilateral discussions, President Kenyatta went to lay a wreath at the grave of the late African National Congress (ANC) President John Langalibalele Dube.

On Saturday, Kenyatta will attend the ANC’s January 8th statement rally in East London in the Eastern Cape as South Africa’s ruling party celebrate 106 years of existence.