Leverage on trade to strengthen Kenya-South Africa ties

On Tuesday, November 23, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on Kenyan and South African business communities to leverage on trade and investments as enablers of strengthening bilateral ties between the two African nations.

The President said the business communities should not view themselves as competitors but partners working together to meet the demands for goods and services in Kenya and South Africa.

“You are not competitors. I think the big mistake we had made is by making each other competitors. We are not competing. We are here to satisfy the needs of our respective markets. Our problem is that we are not working together to meet the demands that our people have,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta spoke when he and his host President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed a Kenya-South Africa business forum attended by over 250 business leaders from the two countries.

At the same time, the two Heads of State directed their respective trade ministers to swiftly work towards resolving non-tariff barriers and other constraints that constrict trade between Kenya and South Africa.

Noting that trade between the two countries is hugely skewed in favour of South Africa, Presidents Kenyatta and Ramaphosa tasked their technical teams to come up with measures to address the trade imbalance.

President Kenyatta said the technical teams should review the range of goods and services that South Africa imports from the rest of the world; and identify those that the country could source from Kenya and vice versa.

“I am sure you all agree with me, Kenya has a comparative advantage in the service sector, particularly in hospitality, financial services, ICT and data processing,” President Kenyatta said.

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