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Kenya's exports to COMESA soar thanks to FTA

12 August 2014, 19:00

Nairobi - The country's exports to the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) region have more than tripled to US$2,7 billion since the launch of the Free Trade Area in 2000.

Government officials attributed the expansion to the country’s steadfast implementation of the programmes by the regional body.

At the advent of the FTA, exports stood at $670 million.

According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Principal Secretary, Dr Karanja Kibicho, COMESA has since become Kenya’s leading export destination, accounting for approximately 73 percent of total exports to Africa and 33 percent of total exports to the world.

“I am happy to observe that the EAC and COMESA customs unions are significantly harmonized by more than 80 percent and therefore the EAC countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) can now proceed to implement the customs union,” said Kibicho in a speech the Ministry’s Political and Diplomatic Secretary, Robert Ngesu, read on his behalf.

He made the remarks during a COMESA/ (African Capacity Building Foundation) Capacity Building Project in Economic and Trade Policy Analysis and Research workshop at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.

The workshop brought together COMESA coordinating ministries, policy research think-tanks and development partners who will seek to reengineer thoughts on the role of policy research in the regional integration agenda.

In February 2013, the COMESA Secretariat signed a grant agreement with the ACBF amounting to US$ 3 million to support economic and trade policy analysis and research.

This is a successor project to the one entitled “Strengthening Capacity for Trade Policy Development within COMESA” which was implemented from June 2003 to March 2009. Current project is aimed at supporting COMESA to effectively implement its Medium Term Strategic Plan.

“I want to thank ACBF for being in the forefront in supporting capacity building in policy research not only in COMESA Secretariat but also in our national policy think-tanks. We are very grateful for this support and look forward to maintaining the cordial relationship that we have nurtured over the past years,” said Kibicho.

– CAJ News

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