Re­newed hope Tan­za­nia will back trade deal with Europe

The Kenya As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers CEO Phyl­lis Waki­aga says Pres­i­dent Magu­fuli’s visit to Kenya gives hope to the pact

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

The Kenyan busi­ness com­mu­nity is hop­ing re­newed ties with Tan­za­nia will help the re­gion strike a bal­ance, paving way for the sign­ing of a trade deal with the 28-mem­ber Euro­pean Union.

This fol­lows Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli’s visit to Kenya where he, with Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta yes­ter­day af­firmed com­mit­ment to re­gional in­te­gra­tion and cor­po­ra­tion.

The two agreed to form a joint com­mis­sion to be led by For­eign Af­fairs min­is­ters to ad­dress re­gional in­te­gra­tion.

“We both know for us to suc­ceed and ex­pand the economies of the two states and cre­ate em­ploy­ment for the youth, we must walk to­gether,” said Uhuru dur­ing a joint press con­fer­ence at State House, Nairobi.

This comes at a cru­cial time when Kenya has em­barked on an­other round of diplo­matic talks with her least-de­vel­oped East African Com­mu­nity peers in a fresh bid to con­vince them to sign the Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment deal with the EU.

Tan­za­nia has been seen as a ma­jor bar­rier af­ter it de­clined to sign the deal, ar­gu­ing it will af­fect growth of its in­dus­tries.

The Kenya As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers CEO Phyl­lis Waki­aga yes­ter­day said Magu­fuli’s visit gives hope to the deal.

“There must be hope,” Waki­aga said “We shared out on non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers in Tan­za­nia with the min­istry. We have also been part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions and we have en­sured we have a solid agree­ment to pro­tect lo­cal in­dus­tries.”

Magu­fuli said Kenya re­mains a key part­ner of Tan­za­nia, not­ing that Kenyan in­vest­ments in Tan­za­nia amount to $1.7 bil­lion (Sh172.65 bil­lion), with 529 com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the coun­try.

This, he said has cre­ated 56,260 jobs. “Kenya is part­ner num­ber one,” Magu­fuli said.

The next EAC heads of state sum­mit is set for Jan­uary 8, and only Kenya and Rwanda have inked the long-de­layed deal with the EU – the coun­try’s largest ex­port mar­ket for fresh pro­duce.

Magu­fuli said the joint com­mis­sion should meet be­fore the end of this year,a move that could boost trade. He said: “We are lag­ging be­hind and we must move with speed.”

/REUTERS

Tan­za­nian Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli in­spects a guard of hon­our in Nairobi af­ter he ar­rived in Kenya for a two-day state visit yes­ter­day

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