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Kenya, Rwanda agree to enhance trade

NAIROBI, November 20 – Kenya and Rwanda have agreed to accelerate the removal of all non – Tariff Barriers so as to enhance the existing bilateral cooperation and promote trade between the two countries.

In a communiqué issued in Kigali on Thursday, President Mwai Kibaki and his host President Paul Kagame acknowledged the importance of trade and pledged to take more proactive measures to enhance trade.

“Kenya and Rwanda share the same vision of supporting the private sector to create wealth for the benefit of the people of the two countries,” President Kagame said at the end of a three-day visit by President Kibaki.

The two Heads of State directed the respective ministries of both countries to expedite the implementation of the agreed enhanced bilateral and technical cooperation. The cooperation includes supporting each other through exchange programs, capacity building and skills development.

While President Kibaki offered to provide several training opportunities to Rwandans  in Kenyan institutions either at subsidised rates or through partial funding, President Kagame returned the favour by offering land to the Kenyan government for the construction of a chancery and trade centre.

The Rwandan President also offered to share his country’s experience in e-government, e-parliament, justice and legal reform, decentralisation, land reform and reconciliation and reconstruction.

The two also underscored the importance of an integrated regional market and expressed their support for fast-tracking the East African Community integration process by speeding up negotiations for the establishment of an East African Common Market.

President Kibaki also challenged both local and international investors in the continent to pay more attention to value-addition of local produce as a way of enhancing the quality and competitiveness of products in the world markets.

He emphasised that through increased application of appropriate technology the region and Africa as a whole would determine how fast its economies would be developed.

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“Today we have access to technologies that developed countries never had when they were in our current levels of development. Let us therefore take the necessary steps to ensure that this technology is availed to and applied by our people,” President Kibaki said during the Legatum Pioneers of Prosperity Africa Prize programme.

The program recognises business as the key driver of development and rewards the best small and medium-sized enterprises across Africa and saw two firms from Kenya; AAR Health and Regional Reach Limited make it to the list of the top ten of small and medium enterprises in Africa.

The President said it was imperative for African countries to pursue policies that will promote the growth of small and medium size enterprises.

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