NAIROBI, July 22- The government is committed to regional initiatives that promote investments and trade within Africa, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.
In this respect, Kalonzo said the government had put in place several measures aimed at creating a conducive environment for trade and investment to thrive.
He re-assured investors of the government’s commitment, to ensure political stability in the country as a way of reducing risks to both local and foreign investments.
“We want to make the country an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment ((FDI),” he said adding that this was being done through the removal of bureaucratic procedures and infrastructural bottlenecks, and the facilitation of reforms to reduce the cost of doing business.
Addressing members of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) during their 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM), the VP said the country had developed a National Export Development Strategy in order to increase the competitiveness of its products by addressing the limitations caused by supply-side constraints.
The strategy he noted also addresses issues of limited range of exports, concentration in traditional markets, foreign exchange risks and labour challenges.
Musyoka said that Kenya has increased its share of trade within the East African Community (EAC) and the COMESA regions and was exploring ways of expanding business with non-traditional trade partners.
He also called on other African countries to invest in measures that can facilitate trade and attract investment, which can spur economic growth.
The VP however admitted that African governments could not achieve sustainable economic growth on their own and needed the help of the private institutions such as the ATI to solve the problems that the continent faces.
He lauded the ATI for its efforts to help the business sector in the 12 countries it operates in by providing finances for investments.
Since its inception in 2002, the institution has issued insurance policies covering political and commercial risks in six African countries with a total transaction value of $800million across sectors such as agribusiness, education, export, tourism and mining.
It offers political and credit insurance products to cushion against such possible risks.
The organisation also announced that plans were underway to open field offices in a number of ATI member states including Tanzania, Zambia before the end of 2008.
ATI CEO Peter Jones said they expect to support annual exports of $1billion for exporters located in their member states by 2010.
“Export credit insurance is a high value-added product allowing the exporter to move up the value chain by selling directly to end users, rather than wholesalers and auction houses while reducing the cost of financing,” Jones explained.