President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran announced plans to increase economic and business dealings with Kenya tenfold, adding that elevated cooperation between the two countries will include others in East Africa as Tehran seeks fresh engagement with the continent.
Raisi, speaking Wednesday at a Nairobi press conference with President William Ruto, said he hopes to see Iran partner on science and tech, as well as agriculture, fisheries, and the petrochemical sector. He envisions regional cooperation on fighting corruption as well.
“Today, African countries and our friend Kenya have a great desire to use Iranian products in their markets. The Kenyan authorities have already created suitable grounds for increasing trade relations between the two countries, and with this trip, which will be a turning point in the development of bilateral relations,” said President Raisi.
Ruto said trade volume between Kenya and Iran is still low, but plans to increase trade include deals on meat, tea, and coffee. The two leaders also signed memoranda of understanding on housing and urban development.
In 2021, Kenya exported Ksh.2.791 billion ($19.8M) to Iran. The main products exported from Kenya to Iran were Tea Ksh.2.71 billion – ($19.2M), Coffee Ksh.57,933,390 – ($410k), and Coffee and Tea Extracts Ksh. 25,579,295 – ($181k).
Raisi began a three-nation tour in Kenya, with his Nairobi schedule delayed by one day before he traveled on to Uganda. He began his visit with President Yoweri Museveni in a private meeting at the presidential palace in Kampala.
The Iranian leader is expected to meet with President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe on Thursday.