Kenya and Nigeria are strengthening ties to improve intra-Africa trade

Africa rarely trades with itself.  The bulk of the region’s trade is with countries from other continents; only 12 percent is with other African countries, according to research by Ecobank, a Togo-based bank. But leaders on the continent are working towards changing this, signing agreements that will ease trade. Such relationship is being fostered by the visit of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to Kenya.

Speaking in Nairobi, on Thursday, during the Kenya-Nigeria Business Forum, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta assured investors that Kenya is open and safe for business and investment.

“Kenya is on a positive reform trajectory and the Government has implemented far-reaching structural reforms and sound macro-economic management with an impressive turnaround in economic performance,” President Kenyatta said.

He said the country is an ideal investment destination given the business-friendly reforms the Government has implemented as well as the access to the larger East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) markets.

As one of the promising emerging economies in Africa, President Kenyatta said Kenya is keen to expand and upgrade infrastructure to deliver the required efficiency – in terms of time and cost – to facilitate trade and investment and attract private sector investments in critical sectors of the economy.

“In this regard the Government has taken steps to improve trade and investment climate by implementing key policy initiatives which include: The enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act 2013; The roll-out of e-Procurement; The enactment of investor protection; Ease of doing Business initiatives; The establishment of One–Stop-Shop and the Reduction in the cost of power among others,” he said.

The President encouraged the Kenyan and Nigerian business communities to invest in the country, saying it was important for the private sector to play its role while the Government delivers on policy.

Nigeria’s President Buhari called for the removal of business restrictions to allow for a smooth flow of trade between the two countries.

“Our business people should be allowed to operate within the ambit of law unimpeded,” President Buhari said.