Kenya Association of Manufacturers has partnered with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to host the Ethiopian trade delegation on a mission to Kenya, led by the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations.
The organizations held a Kenya-Ethiopian Business Forum on Sunday in Nairobi during which investment opportunities in the two Countries were shared.
The Business to Business Forum was graced by Government representatives both from Ethiopia and Kenya.
From Kenya, the Principal Secretary for Trade and Investment, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Chris Kiptoo warmly received Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Regassa Kefelew, into the country expressing the industry’s anticipation of a long-lasting relationship with the Ethiopian Government.
Speaking at the business forum, H.E 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.
Echoing these sentiments, Principal Secretary for Trade and Investment, Dr. Kiptoo said that Africa would progress much faster if we nurture intra-Africa trade and exploit good relations with neighbouring countries, as it will in the long run enhance trade with the rest of the World.
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.
“We 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,” said Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, CEO of KAM.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce also expressed optimism in this engagement, saying that the two countries stand to benefit from increased trade volumes for their markets.
Mr. Matanda Wabuyele, CEO KNCCI pointed to an increase in trade from 2.2 billion in 2004 to 7.4 billion in 2014 and a further increase anticipated with the improvement of infrastructure and addressing existing Non-Tariff Barriers.