Saturday August 14, 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta receives visiting Somalia Prime Minister Hussein Mohamed Roble at State House, Mombasa on August 10, 2021. The two agreed to “reset” relations between the two countries as they seek to chart a new path. PSCU
Trade ties between Kenya and Somalia are expected to improve after Kenyan Somali businessmen held talks with Somalia Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble.
Mr Roble, who has been in the country since Tuesday, met with the communities in Mombasa and Nairobi.
Speaking to Nation.Africa, Somali community chairman Mohammed Ibrahim said the talks will boost business relations between the two countries.
“We held talks with the prime minister of Somalia and I can confidently say we had a productive meeting,” he said.
Opening up the border to allow Kenyan businessmen to trade in Somalia is among the issues discussed in the meeting, he said.
“The two are neighbouring countries and we expect good relations will be restored so as to benefit us too,” he said.
Trade between the two countries had suffered in recent years because of diplomatic disputes.
“Some of us used to take our goods to Somalia and they would bring goods here, until the maritime border dispute erupted. We hope the talks will open the border again so that we can continue our trading relationship,” Mr Ibrahim said.
On Tuesday, PM Hussein visited President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in Mombasa.
The visit to Kenya, he said, was meant to improve relations between the two countries and the maritime boundary dispute is for the International Court of Justice to resolve.
Last week, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo visited Mogadishu, two months after the two countries restored diplomatic relations.
Mogadishu sued Nairobi in 2014 seeking a review of the sea boundary.
The row has greatly disrupted the miraa (khat) trade. Somalia banned imports of the stimulant leaves and stems of the Catha edulis (Forsk) tree from Kenya, blaming Covid-19.
Flights between the two countries were also affected, but Kenya reopened its airspace to Somali planes in June following a ban imposed on May 11