An enduring partnership

Ethiopia and Kenya enjoy longstanding and excellent bilateral relations. The official diplomatic relations of the two countries dates to 1954 when Ethiopia established its Honorary Consulate office in Kenya. Ethiopia appointed its first Ambassador to Kenya in 1961 and Kenya opened its Embassy in Ethiopia in 1967.

Over the years, the two countries have developed cooperation mechanisms such as the Ethio-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) and the Joint Border Administrators’ and Commissioners’ meeting, which have held 36 and 32 meetings, respectively. These mechanisms have fostered regular high-level engagements, including visits between the heads of government and officials.

The two nations have long enjoyed a strong and enduring relationship, with historical ties that span centuries. These two East African nations have collaborated in various fields, including trade, security, and diplomacy.

One of the key factors contributing to the close bond between Ethiopia and Kenya is their geographical proximity. Sharing a border that stretches over 800 kilometers, the two countries naturally engage in regional affairs. This proximity has facilitated the movement of people, goods, and ideas, further strengthening their relationship. Additionally, they face similar regional challenges, which necessitate collaboration to ensure the stability of the dynamic and unstable region.

The two nations are also share border with Somalia so this makes the countries to work in collaboration in fighting counter terrorism and in fighting al-Shabab they works together.

In recent years, Ethiopia and Kenya have embarked on important initiatives aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region. One such initiative is the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project. This project aims to connect Ethiopia to the Kenyan coast through an extensive network of roads, railways, and pipelines. By bolstering trade and enhancing economic development, the LAPSSET corridor has the potential to benefit both countries.

During a recent interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Moi Lemoshira, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director General of Political and Diplomatic Affairs, announced that his country has extended the LAPSSET Corridor Project. Also, the two nations have agreed to extend the agreement that allows Ethiopia to utilize land at Lamu Port. The FM emphasized that several activities are underway to support each other and develop the infrastructure linking Lamu Port in Kenya to the Ethiopian border town of Moyalle.

At the recently concluded 36th Ethio-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting in Addis Ababa, the two countries discussed the full implementation of previously signed agreements. Kenya reaffirmed its commitment to expedite infrastructure-driven interconnectedness with Ethiopia to ensure mutual growth and benefits. The meeting aimed to review bilateral relations, evaluate the implementation of memorandums of understanding, and chart the future path of the comprehensive Ethio-Kenya partnership. Given the significant benefits of infrastructural integration for both countries, it received prime attention.

A week ago, the 36th Ethio-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting took place in Addis Ababa after a seven-year interruption which is being in the 1963. Speaking at the meeting’s opening, Ambassador Fiseha Shawel, the Director General of African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the geographic, cultural, historical, and economic bonds that intertwine Ethiopia and Kenya. The joint ministerial commission serves as a foundation for deepening cooperation in addressing regional challenges such as terrorism, migration, human trafficking, illegal trade, and climate change through robust partnership.

Despite delays caused by various factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministerial meeting has played an instrumental role in enhancing social, economic, and political interactions between the two countries, according to Ambassador Fiseha.

Ambassador Moi Lemoshira also underscored the high-level participation of officials in the meeting as evidence of the shared desire to advance the multifaceted relations between the two countries. Both sides evaluated the implementation of memorandums of understanding and bilateral cooperation, reaching a consensus on a shared path of development in all areas.

To further strengthen their partnership, Ethiopia and Kenya signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in seven different fields of cooperation during the Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting. The MoUs cover areas such as tourism, culture, wildlife protection, capacity building, education, prison services, fish farming, and the petroleum sector.

During the signing ceremony, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Ambassador Taye Atskeselassie emphasized the need for cooperation to address challenges such as human trafficking, terrorism, and climate change in the East African region. The two countries also agreed to share counter-terrorism information and enhance cooperation in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Ambassador Taye further affirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to developing together with neighbouring countries, including Kenya.

Collaboration on security issues, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime, has been a key aspect of their partnership. The countries have shared intelligence and coordinated efforts to address common security challenges, including extremist groups operating in the region. The recently agreement between the countries shows how they are working for the regional peace and stability.

According to CAPITAL NEWS report the two countries are agreed on time-bound monitoring, including a midterm review in February 2025 to assess progress and prepare for the next JMC in 2026. Kenya will host the midterm review.

“We agreed to promote parliamentary diplomacy through exchange visits by Speakers of Kenya’s National Assembly and Ethiopia’s House of Peoples Representatives,” said Mudavadi.

Moreover, the cultural exchanges between Ethiopia and Kenya have also played a significant role in strengthening their ties. Both countries have rich cultural traditions that they have shared through music, dance, art, and literature. These exchanges have fostered mutual understanding and appreciation between the people of Ethiopia and Kenya. Additionally, the presence of the Oromo tribe in both countries further reinforces the people-to-people ties.

Economic exchanges between Addis Ababa and Nairobi are also gaining momentum. The presence of Safaricom Ethiopia, a telecom service provider currently operating in Ethiopia and owned by Kenya, exemplifies the economic ties between the two nations. FM Mudavadi of Kenya recently highlighted the importance of eliminating trade barriers, including tariffs and non-tariff obstacles, to mutually benefit both countries.

The longstanding relationship between the two nations is a testament to the deep historical bonds that unite these two countries. As they continue to work together on various fronts, their partnership is expected to remain strong in the years to come.

Lately, also Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, Bacha Debele, expressed confidence in the two sides’ commitment to further bilateral engagements, stating that several detailed agreements will be signed in the upcoming months, indicating a bolstering of relations between the two nations.



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