NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africa’s business community to increase their investments in Kenya.
Zuma, who made a three-day State visit – the first by a South African President – said there are currently 60 companies from his country operating in Kenya.
He said he wants to see more South African companies investing in Kenya’s growing economy.
President Zuma said his visit to Kenya will open up a new chapter of the relations between the two countries, pointing out that the business forum provides opportunities to strengthen economic and trade ties.
The South African leader spoke at the Intercontinental Hotel Tuesday afternoon where he joined President Uhuru Kenyatta to attend a South Africa-Kenya Business Forum.
On his part, President Kenyatta challenged the private sector to maximise the economic opportunities between the two countries, adding that the two governments will continue improving the business environment.
President Kenyatta said he had reached agreements with President Zuma to remove all trade barriers – tariff and non-tariff – between the two countries because Kenya and South Africa are not in competition with each other.
The President said the two governments need to do more to facilitate trade and allow free movement of goods and people sooner rather than later.
“We have made significant progress in these areas; eliminating or lowering many of the barriers to trade and movement that once existed. And we will continue to make progress,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said Kenya and South Africa are leading the process of integration in their respective regions as per the goals of the African Union.
“The full potential of Africa cannot be exploited if we are not working in harmony together,” said President Kenyatta.
President Zuma said trade between the two countries stands at around Sh60 billion noting that this does not reflect the true potential that exists between the two countries.
He said there is need to create new sources of economic growth with emphasis on agribusiness, energy equipment, infrastructure and Information, Communication Technology (ICT).
The South African President said to achieve this objective there is need to develop industrial clusters and adjust policies to ensure global competitiveness.
He said initiatives towards achieving this goal are already underway through quadrilateral arrangements between South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt to promote industrialization.
President Zuma said Africa’s future looks bright as seen through the tripartite free trade area of EAC, SADC and COMESA which has 600 million people with a GDP of one trillion US Dollar.
“The two countries have good foundation for economic growth through good national economic development plans of Kenya’s vision 2030 and South Africa’s national development plan of 2030,” said President Zuma.
He said both plans are intended to transform the economies into rapidly industrialized nations offering their citizens a high quality of life.
President Zuma also called on Kenya’s business community to exploit business opportunities in South Africa.