South African President Jacob Zuma has arrived here for a three-day State visit to Kenya aimed at deepening economic, political, cultural and social relations with the East African powerhouse.

It is the first State visit to Kenya by a South African Head of State since the dawn of freedom and democracy and it expected to provide a platform for both countries to review progress on key areas of bilateral co-operation, the South African Presidency said in a statement Monday.

South Africa shares strong ties with Kenya, the leading economy in East Africa, in various areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, political, cultural, tourism and infrastructure development.

“Kenya is an important partner for South Africa in the advancement of inter- and intra-African trade and investment. South Africa is Kenya’s fourth source of imports, with South African exports amounting to 8.3 billion Rand (one US dollar = about 13.8 Rand) and imports amounting to 366 million Rand in 2015,” the Presidency said.

There are more than 60 South African companies operating in Kenya and South Africa is the sixth largest investor in Kenya after China, Britain, the United States, India and Nigeria, and Kenya is South Africa’s largest trading partner on the continent from outside the southern Africa sub-region.

The Presidency said economic ties could be strengthened further by optimising investment opportunities in the mutually identified areas of energy, infrastructure development, blue economy and retail.

During the State visit, President Zuma will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta to exchange views on regional, continental and global issues of mutual concern.

President Zuma will also address the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum on Tuesday. This will be used as a platform to further explore investment and trade opportunities between the two countries and to support the interaction between the public and private sectors of South Africa and Kenya.

The two countries are scheduled to sign agreements in the fields of defence, police, home affairs, environment, revenue services and infrastructure development under the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).

“The signing of these instruments is an indication of South Africa’s determination to enhance bilateral relations and serves as confirmation of its desire to forge a strategic partnership with Kenya,” the Presidency said.

President Zuma is accompanied on the State visit by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown, Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Malusi Gigaba, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.