Sri Lanka says president's Kenya visit successful

COLOMBO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned back home on Monday after what his office termed as a successful visit to Kenya, the first by a Sri Lankan head of state to that country.

The President's Office said in a statement that in addition to attending Kenya's 50th Independence Day celebrations, the visit was aimed to enhance bilateral relations and open up new economic cooperation opportunities for the two countries and their business communities.

Currently, there are approximately 200 Sri Lankans living in Kenya with a number of them engaged in large projects in a variety of sectors from apparel and horticulture to motor vehicle trade.

During bilateral discussions held in Kenya, the Kenyan government had indicated keen interest in learning best practices from Sri Lanka on value addition for tea and noted that Kenya would benefit from exchanging visits to share knowledge and experiences.

Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta had also highlighted Kenya's desire to learn from Sri Lanka's experiences in the coconut industry, the Sri Lankan President's Office said.

The statement said that investment opportunities in the two countries are likely to be better facilitated following the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Both Rajapaksa and Kenyatta acknowledged that connectivity is key to enhancing all forms of relations between the two countries, be it economic, cultural or social. They agreed to work towards two specific objectives, namely establishing direct air links between the two capitals and enhancing links between the Ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Colombo and Hambantota in Sri Lanka.