Kenya, South Africa resolve trade barriers

Economy

Kenya, South Africa resolve trade barriers

Thursday November 10 2022

President William Ruto (right) welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at State House Nairobi on November 9, 2022. NMG PHOTO

Kenya and South Africa have moved to iron out trade barriers in a push to increase business and cooperation between the two countries.

President William Ruto and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday the two countries would deal with non-tariff barriers such as licensing bureaucracy, regulation restrictions and sanctions allowing opening up for business in sectors like industries, agricultural produce export and logistics.

The removal of the trade barriers agreement is part of four instruments signed between President Ruto and President Ramaphosa to foster cooperation.

“President Ramaphosa and I have agreed to develop a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor and resolve non-trade barriers that limit trade potential between our two countries,” said President Ruto.

Kenya and South Africa signed three memoranda of understanding and one agreement of cooperation of correctional sciences, on the field of housing and human settlement and cooperation between Kenya School of Government and the National School of Governments from South Africa and the agreement on audio-visual co -production.

The agreement has seen South Africa remove visa requirements for Kenyans traveling to the southern African nation beginning January 2023 for a maximum of 90 days annually, a move expected to strengthen strengthening trade, investment, tourism and cultural ties.

The two countries have also agreed on a return policy for their citizens when immigration laws are breached.

The agreement is set to benefit Kenya, which ran on a trade deficit of Sh40.1 billion in 2021, and investment by private companies and investors that have been eyeing the southern African country for expansion.

“President Ramaphosa and I have agreed to develop a sustainable mechanism to identify, monitor and resolve non-trade barriers that limit trade potential between our two countries,” said President Ruto.

The agreement to boost trade between the two countries could lift Kenya’s export to the country whose main shipment includes gold, carbonates, cut flowers and tea.

Kenya’s purchases from South Africa include coal briquettes, delivery trucks, semi-finished iron and apples, pears and wine.

In 2021, Kenya’s exports to South Africa were Sh3.96 billion in 2021 from Sh3.4 billion in 2020, while imports from South Africa were Sh44.07 billion in 2021, up from Sh45.77 billion in 2020.

South Africa is also a major source of foreign direct investment in Kenya.

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