By AGGREY MUTAMBO –
Kenya has opened a new embassy in Indonesia two years after it pledged to enhance ties with the southeast Asian country.
The mission in Jarkata brings to three the diplomatic stations Nairobi has in the region after setting up one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, five years ago. The other is in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kenya says the embassy’s opening in Indonesia would help improve business ties by adequate consular support.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo opened the mission formally on Thursday, accompanied by her Indonesian counterpart Retno Lestari Marsudi.
“The opening of this mission is no doubt a momentous occasion because it marks an incredible milestone in our bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1982,” she said.
Indonesia opened its embassy in Nairobi 40 years ago, but Nairobi had often addressed its interests in Indonesia through its Bangkok embassy.
Officials from both countries said they would now work on regular contacts to enhance trade between them and discuss common positions on international matters.
The two sides say they are focused on improving trade, agriculture and fisheries, education and healthcare collaboration, with Kenya seen as a gateway for East Africa for Indonesian goods.
Kenya has been exporting tea, leather and tobacco to Indonesia, worth about $8.09 million. It imported paper, boards, industrial boilers, rubbers, plastics and edible oils from the Southeast Asia country, worth about $588.86 million, according to available data from 2020.
On Thursday, Ms Omamo and Ms Marsudi also signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on diplomatic consultations and capacity building, which is seen as a path to further collaboration.
Other deals involved the exchange of technical cooperation between state broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Indonesian News Agency (Antara), and between the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and its Indonesia equivalent (Kadin) and several others on education and research.