German investors will push for scrapping of tariff policies discriminating against products from Kenya and the rest of East Africa to help improve the trade balance between the economies. The investors also agreed to change the country’s view of East Africa as a fragmented economy in fresh bilateral ties, promising intense investments activities. Former Federal President of Germany Horst Kohler said this will allow more exports from the region and encourage local innovations and companies to set up shop in Germany.
“We have to recognize East Africa as a common trading bloc like we do to European Union (EU) and Ecowas (West Africa). We have to stop looking at Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania as separate markets,” he said. Kohler, however, urged regional leaders to put more emphasis on implementation of joint projects to boost ease of doing business. He spoke yesterday in Nairobi at the inaugural East African-German Business Colloquium that brought together 150 key investors from Germany, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with a common goal of exploiting new opportunities in the region.
Germany has limited trade with Africa, accounting for a paltry one per cent of the continent’s total trade volume. Its major trading partners include the Netherlands, France, UK and the US. Kenya’s direct exports to Germany account for eight per cent of total trade volumes, with majority of goods passing through third countries in the EU such as Netherlands and France using agents and suppliers.
Cabinet secretary for International Trade and Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed said an increase in investment by Germany in the manufacturing sector would significantly help fix a huge trade imbalance existing between the two trade partners. Deputy President William Ruto urged German investors to also venture into green energy generation projects to complement government efforts to triple power output to 5,000 megawatts by 2017. “Poor infrastructure costs local manufacturers 40 per cent in production and pulls back the economy by two per cent,” said Ruto when he officiated the opening of the forum.
Source: The People
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