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Kenya, Slovak presidents seek to expand trade, bilateral ties
Last Updated: 2017-02-13 08:18 | Xinhua
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Slovak President Andrej Kiska is due in Nairobi on Monday for a three-day state visit to Kenya to seek ways of increasing trade and enhancing bilateral ties, a Kenyan official said on Sunday.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said this will be the first time a sitting Slovak President is making this visit.

"Kenyan businesses will be looking to leverage the Slovak Republic's areas of relative strength as the country looks to expand its basket of trading partners," Esipisu told journalists in Nairobi.

The Slovak Republic is a high-income advanced economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the European Union. The economy has mainly been driven by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The country's GDP is 138.277 billion U.S. dollars (2015 estimates) and GDP per capita stands at 25,525 dollars (also 2015 estimates), according to Kenyan government statistics.

Esipisu said the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) has created a seamless market from South Africa's Cape Town to Cairo, Egypt.

"President Kenyatta will also make clear that the continent of Africa is also working towards consolidating its economies into a large Continental Free Trade Area therefore providing more business opportunities," Esipisu said.

He said the Kenyan leader has paid state visits to dozens of countries since he came to office, and received a galaxy of global leaders here in Nairobi.

"Kenyans are now seeing the fruits of these years of engagement with partners, with high-impact investments such as the re-starting of assembly plants for German and French automakers VW and Peugeot," he said.

Major industries in Slovakia include metal and metal products, paper and printing, food and beverages, electricity, gas, oil, nuclear fuel, transport vehicles, textiles, electrical and optical apparatus, rubber, and machinery.

Kenya is one of the three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where Slovakia maintains diplomatic missions; others are South Africa and Nigeria.

Esipisu said the balance of trade between Kenya and Slovakia is in favour of Slovakia and the talks on Monday will partly focus on getting more Kenyan goods into the Slovakia market.

He said Kenyatta will cite Kenya's central position in the East and Central Africa region as ideal for investors from the Slovak Republic to use as a launch pad to penetrate the enormous market of over 650 million people of the recently concluded Tripartite Free Trade Area arrangement which brings together three established Regional Communities of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

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