NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
the Democratic Republic of Congo could sign a bilateral trade
agreement by the end of 2014, a government official said
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of International Trade
Nelson Ndirangu said in Nairobi that talks between the two
nations began over two years ago.
are waiting for the DR Congo to sign the agreement so that it
ratified by Kenya’s parliament,” Ndirangu said during a
retreat on Kenya economic ties with the Great Lakes Region.
day-long conference brought participants to strategize on ways
of increasing Kenya’s trade in the region. He said that a
trade agreement will offer Kenya preferential access to the
Central Africa state.
said that DR Congo, with approximately 90 million people, is a
net importer of agricultural and manufactured goods and
therefore offers Kenya a huge market.
said that trade between the two nations is low due to the high
Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that Kenya is
seeking to exploit the untapped markets of the Great Lakes
Region. The region comprises of Angola, Burundi, Central African
Republic, DR Congo, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan,
South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
PS said that the region has a Gross Domestic Product of about
341 billion U.S. dollars. “It should be one of our focus areas
for trade, investment and trade opportunities,” he said.
Adviser to the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary- General to the
Great Lakes Region Modibo Toure said that Kenya is the most
advanced economies in East and Central Africa.
is increasingly assuming a prominent role in resolving
regional conflicts,” he said.He said that the region’s
business community needs to play a role in ending the
recurring cycle of violence in the region.
prosperity is one way of ensuring long term stability,”
Toure said. The adviser said that the World Bank has set aside
funds to assist businesses in the region to increase
investments and trade.
of Foreign Affairs Director of National Coordinator of the
Office of the Great Lakes Region Ken Vitisia said that as
military conflict in the region reduces, economic activity
begins to pick up.
noted that the countries of the Great Lakes Region are of great
economic importance to Kenya as they are the country’s main
to Kenya’s Economic Survey 2013, Kenya’s value of exports to
Africa remained at 48 percent of Kenya’s total exports.
Association of Manufacturers Head of Policy Phyllis Wakiaga said
that Kenya’s key exports to the region include tea, iron
products, palms oil, medicaments, beer and cigarettes, sugar and
added that imports include machinery parts, raw hides and skins,
unmanufactured tobacco, wood, maize and copper wire.
said that the key critical areas that need to be addressed in
the region include health financing, education services and
can contribute to peace as well as the revitalization of
economic development,” Wakiaga said.