Principal Secretary for Trade and Investment, Dr. Chris Kiptoo said that Africa would progress much faster if governments nurture intra-Africa trade.
“Africa will progress if we exploit good relations with neighbouring countries, as it will in the long run enhance trade with the rest of the world,” Kiptoo told visiting Ethiopian trade delegation on a mission to Kenya.
Kiptoo said some of the barriers that have stood in the way of a successful economic cooperation in the past have been include high import duty on goods into Ethiopia, restricting all sea shipments to Ethiopian shipping lines, forex controls, weak intellectual property rights (IPR) regime and Foreign Equity Restrictions.
“Thus, the on-going trade mission, bilateral engagements and improvement of infrastructure that links the two countries together including the expected completion of the Marsabit- Moyale road, promises to eliminate the bulk of these restrictions and transport and logistical barriers,” he said in Nairobi.
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regassa Kefelew said that the two countries have been keen to exploit existing, trade, investment and tourism opportunities.
“This forum will go a long way in not only strengthening our ties but creating job opportunities and improving both our economies,” he said.
The industry in Kenya has a strong interest on the implementation of the Special Status Agreement (SSA) that Kenya and Ethiopia signed in 2012. SSA is aimed at enhancing trade and investment between the two countries.
Once fully implemented, with the elimination of both tariffs and nontariff barriers, market access between the two countries would be improved and therefore flow of goods and services which will in turn accelerate the pace of economic growth and development for the mutual benefits of the peoples of the two Eastern Africa Countries.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Phyllis Wakiaga said they anticipate that the existing cooperation in the Lamu Port and Lamu South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor and Moyale road will open up better opportunities for local businesses in Ethiopia and vice versa.
“Opportunities for peer learning through projects such as the Tram and the Standard Gauge Railway in Ethiopia and Kenya will also set us on a path to economic sustainability for both nations,” Wakiaga said.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCCI) CEO Matanda Wabuyele also expressed optimism in this engagement, saying that the two countries stand to benefit from increased trade volumes for their markets.
Wabuyele pointed to an increase in trade from 22 million U.S. dollars in 2004 to 77 million dollars in 2014 and a further increase anticipated with the improvement of infrastructure and addressing existing non-tariff barriers. Enditem