The second Kenyan Trade Expo in Ghana opened here on Wednesday drawing more attention to the need for developing intra-African Trade, and creating a Continental Free Trade Area.
Exhibitors from both Ghana and Kenya seeking opportunities for partnership displayed their products and services as the four-day trade show is designed to offer participants an opportunity to promote their businesses to the right audience in Ghana and Kenya.
Chairman of Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Kiprono Kittony told Xinhua in an interview that the governments of the two countries ought to give such initiatives the needed support in order to strengthen private sector capacity to do its work effectively.
He described the fair as a very good effort; with participants increasingly greatly from the first edition last year.
“Government of Ghana and government of Kenya need to give initiatives like this a shot in the arm. It is good enough for the private sector to organize themselves but a little bit of government support will take these initiatives even further,” he urged.
Kitonny described Kenya as a politically brave country and the country to watch, urging Ghanaians to venture into investing in Kenya.
For a continent that could boast of bastions of trade such as Timbuktu, 400 years ago not to have well connected trade roots, Kittony pointed at a suspected colonial conspiracy to ensure that African countries do not trade among themselves.
“If we look at these two economies there is a lot of similarities: they are both very progressive; they are both improving on their Ease of Doing Business index; they are both making natural resource discoveries and they are both fairly diversified economies,” he stressed.
According to him: “We are discovering minerals but you guys are far ahead in that natural resource industry so we can benchmark and also learn from you: We have many things that we are ahead of you- like in Mobile Money transfer so you can learn from us and we can take this agenda forward.”
“For a continent that could boast of bastions of trade such as Timbuktu 400 years ago, not to have well connected trade roots shows colonial legacy of the destruction of our trade roots,” Kittony said.
He added: “But, of course, with the advent of colonialism, that system changed and I think right now the challenge goes to the current leadership of Africa to make sure that we really break down those mental barriers .”
On his part, Eastern Regional Minister in Ghana, Eric Kwakye Darfuor, underscored the importance of African countries collaborating with one another in promoting trade on the continent.
“We need to interact with one another and know what is happening in other countries That will actually inspire us. And then when it comes in terms of investment, if you don’t move out you will not know where investments are. That’s why I want to reiterate that such interactions, such exchanges are good for African trade, for our economies and for our development,” the minister told Xinhua in an interview. Enditem