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Kenya, Venezuela Sign Oil Exploration Deal

Source: Xinhua 9/29/2009, Location: Africa

Kenya and Venezuela have signed an agreement setting the stage for cooperation in oil exploitation and supply. A statement from Kenyan vice president's office said on Monday the agreement also calls for the exchange of technical expertise on energy matters, including exploitation of the renewable sources of energy.

The agreement, which has been pending for the last two years, was initiated by Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and was signed by Venezuelan Vice President and Minister for Energy and Petroleum Rafael Ramirez and Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

During the ceremony, Ramirez said because the distance between Venezuela and Kenya was long, Venezuela was considering supplying affordable oil to Kenya from partners close to East Africa.

Musyoka who is attending the second Africa-South America Summit in Venezuela, said the signing of the agreement affords Kenya the opportunity to access critical expertise in its quest to strike oil of its own as well as the possibility of getting access to cheaper oil supply.

"It's our intention to engage the countries of South America for the benefits of the people of Kenya," Musyoka said. The vice president also held bilateral discussion with President of Chile Michelle Bachelet who told Musyoka that her country will be holding a regional conference on agri-business in East Africa in late October.

Musyoka invited Bachelet to bring business delegates from Chileto Kenya so that they would explore the possibility of investing in Kenya.

In his meeting with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Musyoka thanked the government of Algeria for its budgetary supports for the Africa Union.

"The African Union is as strong as its today, largely due to the financial support extended by your country and the continent is grateful for this," Musyoka said.

President Bouteflika lauded the strong ties between his country and Kenya. He said his country would explore the possibility of increasing imports from Kenya so as to boost the trade between the two countries.

Musyoka also met Argentine President Kristina Kirchner who pledged to support Kenya in her anti-piracy effort especially by training personnel in marine protection.

Musyoka also met the vice president of Malawi, in which they discussed Malawi's succession of attaining food security.

Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda who was once Malawi's ambassador to Kenya said her country's investments in agricultural subsidies paid off handsomely, hence urged Kenya to emulate the Malawian experience.

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