Kenya, Uganda seek new ways to boost trade in the region
The government has disclosed plans by Kenya and Uganda to produce and sell goods competitively within the East African region.
Investment, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria said the two East Africa Community (EAC) partner states are in the process of identifying areas of industrial specialisation for manufacture of goods for the regional market.
“The plan will later be scaled to other member states’ regional economic blocs,” he said while speaking during the African Union Meeting of the Coordination Committee and Strategic partners in Nairobi yesterday.
Kuria said Kenya is already in a working framework with some of the partners, especially Uganda, where they are now comparing notes in terms of what Kenya can be able to produce more competitively than Uganda.
“We want to extend this into other countries within the EAC, Comesa and ultimately to AfCFTA,” the CS said.
He termed the initiative as one of the building blocs that will accelerate the process of Africa’s economic integration, which is lagging, especially in terms of currency interoperability and convertibility, which has led foreign exchange (Forex) challenges.
“It would be my desire, and that of the Government of Kenya, that one day, we will wake up and use one currency on the continent. But even before this happens, we need to have a serious discussion on African currency convertibility,” he said.
To overcome the challenge, Kuria urged African countries and the various REC’S to work with pan-African financial institutions to support the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPPS) and reduce the continent’s dependency on hard currencies for trade.
PAPSS is a centralized financial market infrastructure that enables the efficient flow of money securely across African borders, minimizing risk and contributing to financial integration across the regions. The system works in collaboration.