Wednesday, 24 July 2019 12:40

The Inagural 21 Comesa International Trade Fair

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The inaugural source 21 COMESA International Trade Fair which brought together policy makers and the private sector from the 21 COMESA member states was held in Kenya on 17th – 21st July 2019. It was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by Presidents Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory of Mauritius, Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and Deputy President Dr. William Samoei Ruto.
Speaking during the opening of the ceremony, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged member states to explore different products that they could trade with and encouraged them to trade within themselves. “We need to come up with innovative and practical strategies to promote industrialization and enhance trade’’, Uhuru said.
While addressing the delegation, deputy president William Ruto stressed the need to explore all avenues to ensure that our country meets its targets within the global markets.
“Trade is central to our national development, economic aspirations and a cross-cutting enabler of the Big Four Agenda. It is critical that we explore all avenues to expand the reach and value of Kenyan products within and without our borders, including deepening our trade collaboration,” said Dr. Ruto.
The Source 21 COMESA Trade fair happened in the back drop of the 3rd Kenya Trade Week and expo 2019 which was this year held on the 15th and 16th of June 2019 at the KICC under the theme “Powering Regional Integration through trade.” True to this theme, the expo focused to position Kenya as the leader in the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) as well as increase Africa’s Intra- trade. The forum brought together delegates from Kenya and all over the continent.
The Kenya Trade week has always offered an opportunity for Companies across the continent as well as Government organizations showcase their products and services. The Council of Governors has over the years been steadfast to engage with the public and stakeholders at this stage showcasing the best practices and initiatives that are improving service delivery at the County level as well as the Council of Governors as it executes its mandate as per the law.
Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga was amoung the many Kenyans that the Council of Governors had the opportunity to interact with during the expo. According to the former prime minister, the country needs to increase its competitiveness in trade and allocate more resources towards infrastructure projects.
“As a country, we must position ourselves as the hub and the champion of the continental trade initiative in the region. To achieve this, we must enhance our capacity for value addition and export. In particular, we must invest in infrastructure of Energy, Roads, Railways, Airways and Internet Connectivity,” Raila said.
County Governments in Kenya through the County Regional Economic Blocs are positioning themselves to maximize on their competitive advantage a move that can be replicated at the COMESA level to promote trade among member countries. County Governments have also made major strides towards value addition, creation of market linkages to producers as well as promoting cross border trade.
“We as County Governments are making deliberate interventions to grow our export markets, including fashioning our commerce agreements to directly link traders to markets and promoting cross-border trade. To derive maximum output, we must enhance value addition and develop niche products for target export market destinations to sell superior and quality products, thus in Counties we have the Counties Biashara Funds”, H.E Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Chairman, Council of Governors said.
The 4th Kenya Trade week 2020 is expected to focus on analysis of the results of the actions taken henceforth and what is needed is to get better results, with regard to export growth, going forward.

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