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Kenyan VP speaks at Iran meet

TEHRAN, Iran, May 17 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has urged countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to promote trade and investment with each other in order to achieve faster economic growth.

He cited the tremendous economic rise of India, Malaysia, and Brazil, all members of the G15 group of countries as an indicator that developing countries can leapfrog their economies to middle income status in a few years.

Mr Musyoka pointed out the vulnerability of developing countries in the face of situations that were not of their own making such as the recent global financial crisis and the disruption of air traffic in Europe following volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

“These experiences demonstrate the need for developing countries to expand and deepen the level of trade amongst ourselves. It also requires that insurance and compensatory schemes be created to cushion vulnerable sectors of our economies,” said the Vice President.

He noted that Kenya’s tourism sector, horticultural and floriculture sub-sectors took a major beating following the grounding of flights to and from Europe. Kenyan cut flowers exporters suffered losses estimated at $3 million per day.

The Vice President also called for intensification of efforts to level the playing field at the international level so as to spread the benefits of economic development to all countries but also emphasised that South-South cooperation remains the key to unlocking the economic potential in developing countries.

Each country, he said, must pay attention to the need to continually make internal policy adjustments so as to facilitate faster growth and development.

“In Kenya, for instance we have adopted Vision 2030 as a medium to long term development strategy designed to transform our country into a middle income economy by the year 2030,” said Mr Musyoka.

He was addressing the opening session of the 14th Summit of the G-15 nations in Tehran, Iran on Monday which was also attended by host president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Lula Da Silva of Brazil, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, and Abdoulaziz Bouteflika of Algeria.

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Also present were leaders from Malaysia, Qatar, Venezuela, Argentina, India, and Belarus.

The Vice President was accompanied by Members of Parliament Emilio Kathuri, Mohammed Affey and Abdi Nuh, and Kenya’s ambassadors to Tehran Mr Ali Abbas, and Mr Philip Owade from Geneva.

The G-15 was established in Belgrade in 1989 to promote cooperation between member states in investment, trade and technology transfer.

The membership includes Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Brazil, India, Sri lanka, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Jamaica and Zimbabwe.

On the agenda for discussion during the two-day summit are issues on debt relief, reforming the Brettonwoods institutions, migrant labour, and North-South dialogue on development.

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