Kenya, South Africa trade partnership needs to be balanced, says President Ramaphosa

Kenyan Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday addressed a Kenya-South Africa business forum that was attended by over 250 business leaders from the two countries.

The event took place in the South African country during the second day of a three-day state visit by President Kenyatta.

President Ramaphosa noted that although Kenya is South Africa’s largest trading partner in Africa outside the Southern African Development Community, a lot needed to be done to address the trade imbalance that is tilted in favour of South Africa.

He also pointed out that South Africa could be the strategic partner that Kenya needs in implementing its Big 4 Agenda, which focuses on manufacturing, food security, universal health coverage, and affordable housing.

“For this to happen, our trade relationship needs to involve greater value addition with more focus on manufactured and agricultural goods.

“We need to take greater steps to achieve greater balance in our bilateral trade which is currently skewed in favour of South Africa,” President Ramaphosa said, singling out the importation of tea and coffee from Kenya as the products that could be considered first.

On his part, President Kenyatta urged 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.

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