Currently, Colombia and Kenya have minimal trade relations, but senior officials from both nations have been working to find ways to grow trade and other areas of bilateral cooperation.
Photo: Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez speaks during the Kenyan delegation’s trip to Colombia. (Credit MinCIT)
Most recently, a delegation led by Kenyan Vice President Rigathi Gachagua visited Bogotá in September to advance ongoing efforts to strengthen ties and continue the dialogue in meetings with their public counterparts. The group also traveled to the departments of Antioquia and Caldas, which is located in the nation’s “coffee axis” and has a storied history as a pioneer in production.
Coffee is among the most important shared sectors for both nations, but it has yet to lead to a significant economic relationship. Overall, the two countries realized around $1.8 million USD in bilateral trade in the first half of 2023, according to the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT).
The majority of this total, about $1.1 million USD, came from Colombian exports, including equipment used in paper pulp cutting, husking, and agricultural drying. Kenya’s primary exports to Colombia include plants, clothing, and resins used in food production, according to MinCIT.
Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez, who traveled to Africa earlier this year to promote bilateral relations with several nations and welcomed the delegation to Bogotá alongside Colombian Commerce Minister Germán Umaña Mendoza, has called Kenya one of the Andean nation’s main allies in Africa.
“We have established a dialogue and a bilateral relationship with Kenya and a multilateral relationship with the African continent that must be strengthened,” said Márquez in public comments.
“Colombia has set out to be a world power of life. Our government is betting on it, and that necessarily means having trade relations. But we have to think about new trade rules in collaboration where we can see each other as equals, where we all win: Kenya wins and Colombia wins, Africa wins and Latin America wins.”
In addition to increasing trade, Luis Felipe Quintero Suárez, deputy minister of foreign trade for Colombia, noted in a speech that the two sides worked to establish a joint agenda on issues including sustainable energy, agriculture, education, culture, and gender.
Along with the vice president, the Kenyan delegation included Alfred Ombudo Kómbudo (Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Trade), Killimo Araap Lagat (Nandi County Executive Committee Member in Agriculture and Co-operative Development), Muturi James Wachihi (Nyeri County Executive Committee Member For Agriculture), and Benson Apuoyo, (Agriculture Director of the Coffee Directorate with the Kenyan Agriculture and Food Authority).