Ruto and Afwerki Strike Kenya and Eritrea Visa-Free Agreement


Eliminating Barriers to Integration

President William Ruto and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki came together to announce a historic agreement to abolish the visa requirement for citizens of both nations to travel between Kenya and Eritrea. This move, according to President Ruto, will enhance trade and other relationships between the two countries and help to strengthen connectivity and regional trade.

Reinvigorating Regional Unity

In addition to the visa-free travel agreement, President Ruto expressed his interest in readmitting Eritrea into the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The organization unites countries in the Horn of Africa and aims to address regional challenges. With Eritrea’s entry into IGAD, President Ruto believes it will be crucial in actualizing the organization’s goals and re-engineering it to effectively respond to the needs of the region.

Potential Collaboration in Key Areas

Both Presidents Ruto and Afwerki highlighted the potential for collaboration in key areas such as renewable energy, water management, agriculture, transport, security, tourism, the blue economy, and education. President Ruto directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kenya to fast-track the process of opening a diplomatic mission and to ensure its immediate operation. Eritrean President Afwerki praised President Ruto’s efforts to establish trade relationships and ensure peace in the region.

Amid Controversy and Concerns

The announcement of the visa-free travel agreement and Eritrea’s potential readmission into IGAD comes amidst concerns regarding the consequences of the ongoing Ethiopian peace talks. Eritrea has been accused of posing an obstacle in the pacification process in Ethiopia and the rebel forces of Tigray. Nevertheless, both Presidents expressed their commitment to working closely together and ensuring a prosperous union.

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