Durban, South Africa, Jan 12 – Kenya has intensified efforts to enhance access to the South African market by Kenyan exporters, Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed has said.
At the same time, the Cabinet Secretary said Kenya is seeking to attract South African investors into the country as part of the government’s strategy to generate wealth and employment creation.
The Cabinet Secretary was speaking ahead of President Kenyatta’s working visit to Durban, South African, beginning Thursday.
“Kenyan exports to South Africa face high tariffs and levies which inhibit access to the South African market by Kenyan investors,” said Amb. Amina Mohamed.
Added the CS: “Kenya’s main exports to South Africa which include tea, soda ash, cut flowers, avocado, detergents, processed cashew and macadamia nuts, among others, face tariffs and levies which make them uncompetitive compared to those from the South African Development Community (SADC) member countries.”
The CS revealed discussions during the visit will focus on the removal of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, among other issues of strategic interest to both countries.
“Discussions towards elevating the Joint Commission for Cooperation between Kenya and South Africa to Special Status Agreement will be a key agenda of the visit to South Africa. The aim is to bolster trade relations through high-level negotiations for the elimination of tariff and non-tariffs barriers between the two countries,” said Amb. Amina Mohamed.
Amb. Amina Mohamed said there is great potential for increased trade between the two countries saying Kenya is one of South Africa’s leading trade partners in Africa and a major recipient of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“Kenya is the largest export market for South Africa’s products to East and Central Africa. However, trade balance is heavily in favour of South Africa partly due to poor market access and partly due to Kenya’s reliance on the export of primary or semi-processed products while South Africa exports high-value products.
The Cabinet Secretary cited the recent entry into the Kenyan market by Volkswagen (South Africa) to establish a motor vehicle assembly plant as well as the decision by Development Bank of South Africa to invest in LAPSSET Corridor Projects, as indicators of deepening ties between Kenya and South Africa.
The CS further said Kenya and South Africa have made good progress in streamlining key issues including visa requirements for Kenyan nationals travelling to South Africa.
“Key among these was the acceptance by South Africa to issue Visa on arrival for Official delegations, and the Issuance of a One-off Visa tenable for the duration of study in South Africa for Kenyan students,” she added.
Besides holding bilateral talks with his host in Durban, President Kenyatta will also attend the 106th Anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress (ANC) in the city of East London as special guest.
During the visit, the President will also hold talks with Hon. Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly-elected ANC President who is also the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.