KIGALI (Xinhua) --
Senior government officials, experts and private
sector representatives from 14 eastern African countries started
a meeting here on Tuesday on the implementation of the African
Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
countries—Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Guinea, Rwanda, Ghana, Mali,
Niger, Chad, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland and
Uganda—have ratified the agreement to establish the single
continental market, according to the African Union (AU).
ratifications are needed for the AfCFTA to come into force and
make Africa the largest free trade area in terms of the number
of participating countries since the formation of the World
The AfCFTA could
create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a gross
domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars, the AU
At a panel session
at the opening of the three-day meeting, the 22nd
Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of the
Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa, finance and trade
ministers from Rwanda and Uganda said speedy ratification and
conclusion of all procedures required to establish the free
trade area should be priority of economic development agendas
among African economies.
“More efforts are
needed to ratify the agreement and implement it in order to
drive economic transformation in Africa,” said Ugandan Minister
of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde.
Africa must seize
the momentum at hand to focus on how to speed up the
ratification and to rally support for free trade and related
instruments, said Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic
Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana.
the progress toward the ideal of African unity and there is an
urgent need to move forward with its effective implementation,
Ugandan Minister of
Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija said
African countries are defending their own positions instead of
regional positions, which leads to the slow progress in
effective implementation of AfCFTA.
participants attended the meeting under the theme “Implementing
the African Continental Free Trade Area in Eastern Africa: From
Vision to Action.”
UN urges Africa to prioritize
manufacturing for sustainable development
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United Nations on Tuesday urged African
governments to prioritize the manufacturing sector in order to
achieve sustainable development.
representative for Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Comoros and
Seychelles at United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO), told journalists in Nairobi that in the past, the
continent tended to concentrate on the social sectors such as
education and health.
should prioritize productive sectors such as the manufacturing
sector because they tend to provide jobs as well as products and
services that are needed to support other sectors,” Kalenzi said
during celebrations to mark Africa Industrialization Day (AID)
The AID was adopted
by the UN General Assembly in 1989 with the objective to reach
out to African leaders and to mobilize partnerships necessary
for the development of industry on the continent.
This year’s theme is
“Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for
accelerating Africa’s structural transformation,
industrialization and pharmaceutical production.”
Kalenzi said the
event is special as it comes at a time when UNIDO is pursuing
the implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade
for Africa (IDDA III), while in Kenya
the government has
prioritized manufacturing as one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s
Big Four Agenda, a development blueprint.
Kalenzi said that
most African nations were in a crisis when they achieved
independence from the colonial governments.
sought to address immediate social needs such as the provision
of basic social and infrastructure services to the population,”
The UN official
noted that on average the contribution of the manufacturing
sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Africa is lower
than that of most regions of the world.
Peter Munya, cabinet
secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and
Cooperatives, said that over the past ten years, Kenya’s
manufacturing base has remained static at 11
percent of the
country’s GDP, and its industrial exports have decreased in
“It is for this
reason that efforts are now being rallied under President Uhuru
Kenyatta’s the Big Four Agenda that among other pillars seek to
increase the GDP contribution of the manufacturing sector to 15
percent by the year 2022,” Munya said.
He added that Kenya
aims to expand the manufacturing sector through boosting local
production, expanding to the regional market as well as taking
advantage of global market niches.
He said that so far
Kenya has identified opportunities and sectors that will more
than double the amount of current formal manufacturing sector
jobs to approximately 700,000 and add 205.4 billion Kenya
shillings (about 2 billion U.S. dollars) to 3 billion dollars to
He revealed that
some of the opportunities and sectors identified include the
promotion of value addition in agro-processing, textiles,
leather, construction services and materials, automotive,
pharmaceutical, oil and gas, mining services and Information
Technology Communication (ICT) related sectors that build on
He noted that the
government is keen to expand medium, small and micro enterprises
(MSMEs) by supporting rising stars and addressing challenges
affecting the sector.
principal secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and
Cooperatives, said that Kenya also plans to create an enabling
environment to accelerate industrial development through
industrial parks and zones along infrastructure corridors.
Maina noted that the
government has also stepped up efforts in dealing with illicit
trade and substandard goods.