Kenya waives work permits for Rwandans

VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Rwandan professionals wishing to work in Kenya will no longer require work permits. This was announced by Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki, who yesterday ended his three-day official visit to Rwanda, said that all other stumbling blocs to the process should be identified and solved.
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya addressing the Legatum Africa Awards during his State visit Wednesday. (PPU photo).
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya addressing the Legatum Africa Awards during his State visit Wednesday. (PPU photo).

VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Rwandan professionals wishing to work in Kenya will no longer require work permits. This was announced by Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki.

Kibaki, who yesterday ended his three-day official visit to Rwanda, said that all other stumbling blocs to the process should be identified and solved.

“We have removed any restrictions for people from Rwanda while in Kenya to be as free as the Kenyan nationals,” said Kibaki at the event to mark the end of his visit which took place at Urugwiro Village.

The development comes after President Paul Kagame, last year, announced the removal of work permits on professionals from the East African Community with ambitions of working in Rwanda, a move he said was aimed at preventing brain drain in Africa.

Kibaki said that this spirit should spread to other regional countries.

“It should not only be our two countries to take the initiative, all regional countries should adopt this,” said Kibaki, who said he was surprised at the number of Kenyan nationals he found working in Rwanda.

During his visit, Kibaki met the Kenyan community in Rwanda and he said that the number was currently over 2000. Earlier, the Kenyan leader promised cooperation in the education sector.

“Our public educational institutions will be made available to Rwandese nationals on the same terms as our own nationals and where possible the Government of Kenya will provide partial support,” Kibaki said on Wednesday night during a State banquet hosted by his counterpart, said.

A joint communiqué by both governments released following the visit said that both countries agreed to enhance the cooperation in among others; trade and investment, public service and labour, ICT, transport, tourism, among other areas.

“President Kibaki offered to provide several training opportunities to Rwandan nationals in Kenyan institutions either at subsidised rates or through partial funding,” read Foreign Affairs Minister Rosemary Museminali from the communiqué.

Also according to the communiqué, President Kagame offered land to the Kenyan government on which a Chancery and a trade centre will be built. “He also offered to share Rwanda’s experience in e-government, e-parliament, justice, and legal reforms,” says the communiqué.

Other areas discussed by the two Heads of State included regional markets and highlighting the importance of the Northern Corridor Transport System in the regional economic transformation.

It is through the Northern Corridor which stretches from the Kenyan port of Mombasa that most of Rwanda’s imported goods are transported. Kenya recently directed that the port operates 24 hours.

Kibaki, whose visit coincided with the arrest in Germany of State Protocol Director, Rose Kabuye, condemned the act and also called for her unconditional release. She has since been released on bail by a French judge following her transfer there.

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