Iran’s Raisi begins Africa trip, signs agreements with Kenya

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has received a red carpet welcome from Kenyan counterpart William Ruto as he began a three-country tour of Africa on Wednesday that Tehran has touted as a “new beginning” in relations with the continent.

Raisi’s trip to Africa, which will also take him to Uganda and Zimbabwe, is the first by an Iranian president in more than a decade, a bid to diversify economic ties in the face of crippling sanctions from the United States.

The trip, which was due to begin on Tuesday, was delayed by a day to finalise memorandums of understanding which Raisi and Ruto were to sign, according to Kenya’s foreign ministry.

Iranian and Kenyan ministers signed five memorandums of understanding on Wednesday related to information technology, fisheries, livestock products and investment promotion, the governments announced.

At a press briefing after meeting Ruto, Raisi, who has previously described Africa as a “continent of opportunities”, said he wanted to boost commercial ties with African countries.

“None of us are satisfied with the current volume of trade and the current economic exchange between countries,” he said.

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