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Indonesian President Joko Widodo strengthens bilateral ties with Kenya during African visit

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Kenyan President William Ruto strengthen trade ties, and discuss preferential trade agreements, investment expansion, renewable energy, and pharmaceutical cooperation during Jokowi’s historic visit to Kenya.



As part of his tour of four African nations, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) engaged in a bilateral meeting with the President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday (21 Aug).

The meeting was marked by a symbolic presentation of a gift comprising a cooking oil pump machine and 5,000 litres of palm oil.

During the high-level talks, both Indonesia and Kenya agreed to enhance their collaboration in the realm of trade. President Jokowi expressed the shared intention to foster a preferential trade agreement between the two countries, which is set to be ratified in the near future.

Speaking to reporters in a joint press conference, President Jokowi highlighted the significance of the discussions, underscoring the need to broaden trade opportunities beyond the existing US$507 million trade volume recorded in 2022.

Furthermore, President Jokowi revealed plans to bolster Indonesia’s investments in Kenya, particularly within the energy and livestock sectors.

The collaboration will extend to the respective pharmaceutical oversight bodies of the two nations, as well as with Biofarma, the leading vaccine manufacturer in Indonesia, focusing on limited generic African drugs encompassing vaccines and pharmaceutical products.

President Jokowi emphasized the hope that this cooperation would expand to cover a wider range of pharmaceutical products.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Kenyan President William Ruto met at the State House, Kenya, on Monday, August 21, 2023.

The joint efforts between the two nations are not limited to trade and investment. Both leaders expressed commitments to augment the use of renewable energy sources, strengthen cooperation in the fields of healthcare and food security, and support each other in these endeavors.

President Jokowi highlighted the historical ties between Indonesia and Kenya, dating back to the Asian-African Conference of 1955 and the Non-Aligned Movement of 1962.

He emphasized that Kenya holds a special place in Indonesia’s international relationships, acknowledging President William Ruto’s warm welcome and describing Kenya as an important friend.

President William Ruto reciprocated the sentiments, characterizing President Jokowi’s visit as a testament to the commitment to reinforce the deep historical bonds between their nations.

He noted that this visit marked the first time a President of Indonesia had visited Kenya, and highlighted the discussions centered around enhancing collaboration to optimize trade balance.

Concurrent with President Jokowi’s visit, Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned energy company, initiated exploratory discussions on potential partnerships for upstream and geothermal projects in Kenya.

Pertamina’s CEO, Nicke Widyawati, highlighted the company’s commitment to fostering economic development through collaborative efforts, emphasizing that any partnership would be designed to benefit Indonesia.

Pertamina, through its subsidiaries Pertamina International Exploration and Production (PIEP) and Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE), is exploring collaboration opportunities by entering into agreements with energy companies in Kenya.

Pertamina’s role as a leader in the energy transition was also underscored, with the company pledging support for the Net Zero Emission 2060 target and aligning its programs with the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This visit not only reinforces the historic ties between Indonesia and Kenya but also signifies a commitment to mutual growth and development across various sectors.

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