Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Nairobi today as the part of the first leg of his three-nation tour of Africa, which will cover Uganda and Zimbabwe as well as Kenya. The tour follows last month’s three-nation Latin America trip by Raisi, and will be the first time that an Iranian president has visited Africa in 11 years.
According to Iranian state media, the tour will include bilateral meetings, intergovernmental committees, joint press briefings and meetings with trade and economic officials in all three countries. “The primary objective of Raisi’s visit is to enhance Iran’s presence in Africa’s economy,” reported Tasnim News Agency.
Upon Raisi’s arrival in Kenya, the foreign ministry in Tehran said that the trip aims to “promote economic diplomacy, strengthen political relations with friendly and aligned countries, and diversify export destinations.”
Kenya is keen on enhancing its trade volumes with Iran. That is why we are working closely with Tehran to facilitate the export of more tea, meat and other agricultural products to Iran, which will also act as a key entry point to Central Asian countries. pic.twitter.com/9AIsCkNynT
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) July 12, 2023
During a meeting today with his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, President Raisi signed cooperation agreements in the fields of communication, mining, fisheries, agriculture, culture and tourism.
“We warmly shake the hands of all the governments of the African continent,” Raisi told journalists at a press conference. “Africa is the continent of capacities. Iran views African countries as full of capacities, talents and natural and mineral resources. We also have many capacities. The exchange of these capacities can help the two countries progress.”
In response, the Kenyan president said that his country welcomes Iranian investment and announced that the two sides agreed that Iran will set up a car assembly plant in Kenya and produce Iranian cars to be sold in the African country under Swahili names. “I am certain that these projects will not be stopped,” added Ruto.