Kenyans can now travel visa-free to South Africa

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After years of intense negotiations, Kenyans can come to South Africa without a visa. The new dispensation starting in 2023 has been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Kenyan counterpart, President William Ruto.

Ruto is hosting Ramaphosa, who is on a state visit to Kenya. The two leaders have also focused on strengthening economic, political and social cooperation.

Ramaphosa says this agreement on visas will stimulate tourism between the two countries and has warned against abuse of the system.

“We are going to be monitoring this much more closely and we are setting in place various mechanisms and both South Africa and Kenya to make sure that what we have agreed to is adhered to and that no one takes advantage of the agreement that we have reached.”

President Ruto says this marks a new chapter and it will also stimulate tourism.

“This has been a challenge that has been with us for many years. Under the new regime, we can build a greater relationship in business, culture, and communal relationships. In Social relationships, because we can be able to move in a better framework.”

Strengthening peace

Both leaders have also called for guns to be silenced on the continent. President Ramaphosa says they need to focus on strengthening peace in Africa.

“During our discussions, we spoke about several issues affecting the continent including the situation in the DRC, Ethiopia and Western Sahara. We agreed that we need to remain focused on issues affecting our regions and continent and not be distracted by other global matters that are not of our making.”

Ruto says Kenya is committed to contributing to African Union (AU) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for global peace.

“These conflicts cause suffering and lead to migration and weaken states. I thank you Mr President for providing leadership at the technical level and now implementation between Tigray and the Ethiopian government. Kenya and South Africa are committed to play a role for peace at the AU and the UN Security Council framework.”

Climate crisis

The two leaders just returned from the COP27 climate change talks in Egypt and Ramaphosa says the world is facing a climate crisis.

“We have fossil fuel energy and some of the power stations have been working for years one has been retired, it reached the end of its life and the decision is whether we want to be ahead of the curve and have green energy before we are compelled.”

Ruto says developing countries also need to work together to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“It’s our belief that it’s always right to do the right thing, we believe that two wrongs can’t make it right and that’s why South Africa is talking about just energy transition and Kenya is escalating its renewable energy sources.”

South Africa and Kenya have recommitted to ensuring that the Kiswahili language is taught in South Africa.

SA-Kenya State Visit I Presidents Ramaphosa, Ruto strengthen ties: