Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday called on Pakistani investors to explore untapped business opportunities in the country and Africa.

Kenyatta attended and opened the inaugural Pakistan-Africa Trade and Development Conference in Nairobi.

"For we, in Africa, share deep historical ties with Pakistan," he said. "Kenya and Pakistan enjoy warm relations stretching back over decades to the days before our independence."

The Kenyan leader, who called for more trade between the two countries, said Africa made history last year by establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), making it the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.

The AfCFTA presents a unique platform for investors to engage Africa as a bloc, thereby benefiting from economies of scale, Kenyatta said.

The collaborative mechanism will add impetus to the east African branch of the Belt and Road Initiative Economic Corridor as epitomized by the Standard Gauge Railway and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, linking the East African coast to central Asia, he said.

"It is my sincere hope, therefore, that this trade and development conference will mark the beginning of an increase in trade between Pakistan and Africa, with Pakistan joining the ranks of the continent's leading trading partners," Kenyatta said.

Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, for his part, said his government chose Kenya to host the inaugural Pakistan-Africa trade conference because of the country's dynamic and conducive investment environment.

Qureshi said Kenya's Big 4 agenda is similar to his country's development blueprint and the two nations will go a long way in deepening trade relations.