Kenya and Uganda root for cross border investments
Kenya and Uganda have jointly agreed to strengthen trade ties in order to promote cross border investments.
Speaking on Tuesday during the official opening of a Cross Border Trade-Expo in Eldoret, representatives from the two countries said there was need to tap unexploited investment opportunities in the East African region.
Kenya was led by Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Ababu Namwamba, who stressed on the need for East African Community (EAC) members to fast track the integration process to enhance cross border investments and trade.
“Already, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni have embraced the initiative by opening a one border post in Busia to hasten and ease the doing of business,” stated Namwamba.
He pointed that Uganda a friendly, closest neighbour, and significant trading partner and that last year, her trade volume with Kenya amounted to Sh.81.1 billion.
Namwamba noted that there were a few hiccups on counterfeit products present in the market affecting the two countries but added that a team was in place to address the issue.
“We are not the source of the counterfeit goods but we are just used as the dumping site by foreign countries, a move that should be discouraged,” he noted.
He said the team would not only address counterfeits but also work towards establishing a single currency.
On his part, Uganda Trade Minister, Werikhe Michael underscored the importance of removing artificial barriers to trade for instance tariffs to enhance investments.
“My country is in full support of East African integration and we are working towards removing artificial barriers to ensure there is ease in doing business,” said Werikhe.
Werikhe, who was flanked by Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya, Phebby Otaala, added that last year alone, Uganda exported goods worth 400 million dollars to Kenya, a sign that there was room for trade.
“I urge residents of both countries to use their passports to do business instead of ‘sitting on them,’ ” said Werikhe.
The host, Governor Jackson Mandago, said his government was ready to facilitate trade by creating an enabling environment.
Mandago also echoed the sentiments of Uganda’s Trade Minister and urged Uasin-Gishu residents to make use of their passports by looking for opportunities across the borders.
“Do not sit on your passports, wake up and export your passion fruits and other products to our closest trading partner,” he challenged.
The Four- Day- Expo organized by Embassy of Uganda aimed at providing an opportunity for investors to learn about potential investment opportunities and develop linkages that stimulate investment between Uganda and Kenya.
By Bethsheba Abuya