In a historic move, Germany is set to welcome a wave of Kenyan workers as part of an effort to fill 250,000 job slots in the European nation. President William Ruto of Kenya made the announcement at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, held at State House in Nairobi.
The proposed deal would bring professional, skilled, and semi-skilled Kenyans to Germany to address the country’s significant labor needs. In response, Nairobi has called on Berlin to ease immigration laws, paving the way for Kenyan workers to find employment in Germany.
A major component of the deal involves the establishment of a twin institutions framework, which will pair Kenyan technical and vocational training (TVET) colleges with their German counterparts. This partnership aims to facilitate labor migration from Kenya to Germany for college graduates.
To execute the agreement, President Ruto announced the creation of a technical team from both nations, involving his office and the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Labor. This team will be responsible for expediting discussions and developing a framework for the export of labor to Germany.
The two countries have enjoyed a close relationship since 1963 when Germany became the first nation to recognize Kenya’s independence. This bond has only grown stronger over the years, with both countries sharing common values and cooperating in a variety of fields.
In addition to the labor agreement, Germany has pledged to support the expansion and improvement of Kenya’s TVET institutions, increasing the number of centers of excellence from three to seven. This initiative will provide more opportunities for Kenyan youth and help combat unemployment.
Addressing the language barrier, President Ruto also stated that the teaching and learning of German will be introduced in basic education institutions, TVETs, and other higher learning centers, with Germany providing support for teacher training.
The two leaders also discussed trade, as Germany is Kenya’s most important trading partner in East Africa. However, President Ruto expressed concern over the trade imbalance, which favors Germany, and called for a review of tariff barriers to promote the entry of Kenyan products into Germany and the European market.
Furthermore, the leaders acknowledged the need for global cooperation to mitigate climate change, with President Ruto emphasizing the importance of climate financing, trading, and investment. In a show of commitment, Nairobi will host the African Climate Action Summit in September, allowing African leaders and experts to consolidate the continent’s position ahead of COP28.
During the bilateral meeting, the two states also discussed regional peace and security, expressing shared concerns about the situation in Sudan and its spillover effects on the region. They agreed on the need for an unconditional cessation of hostilities, humanitarian aid access, and protection of civilians.
The meeting marked a new chapter in Kenya and Germany’s relationship, as they agreed to explore a strategic bilateral partnership framework that will further strengthen and solidify their ties.