Durban - President Jacob Zuma and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, said economic and geopolitical issues were on the table at their meeting in Durban on Thursday.

They promised to strengthen relations between the two countries.

South Africa and Kenya already enjoy warm bilateral relations, underpinned by strong historical and political bonds.

South Africa is a strategic partner of Kenya in many areas, particularly trade and security.

Zuma described the meeting as productive, not only for bilateral relations but for continental matters.

“The slave trade, particularly in Libya, is something that Africa cannot allow again. It is something we need to give serious attention to,” said Zuma.

Kenyatta said job creation was one of the main issues discussed at the meeting.

“We discussed how our countries can work together for the mutual prosperity of our people, and how we can improve connectivity in our continent for industrialisation that will enable us to create jobs for our young people,” Kenyatta said.

He said the two also laid a foundation for his state visit to South Africa, expected in the first quarter of this year.

“We hope to conclude strong agreements of mutual benefit that will help expand and continue to deepen the partnership between our countries.

“I look forward to concluding a good number of agreements when I am back for a state visit,” Kenyatta said.

The talks included Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and other ministers from Kenya.

The Kenyan president will also attend the ruling party’s 106th birthday celebrations in East London tomorrow.

Jakkie Cilliers, an expert on African development trends and long-term scenarios, said although South Africa and Kenya had bilateral relations they were also very competitive, with the eastern African country seeing itself as the leader of its region, while South Africa had assumed the role of continental leader.

He added that the main purpose of Kenyatta’s visit to South Africa was to look at expanding the commercial relationships between the countries, and was not a politically-motivated trip.

Cilliers said the two countries had ideological differences when it came to international matters.

“South Africa is much more in the alternative camp and still has a lot of hang-ups about apartheid and colonialism.

“But the Kenyans, in a sense, have moved on and they look at the South African debates on imperialism and our close relationships with Cuba and Venezuela, and they see that as a little bit outdated.

“So there is a bit of an ideological orientation difference between Kenya and South Africa,” said Cilliers.

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