NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Five East African countries on Thursday resolved
to boost economic integration and continental trade facilitation
by making trade between them and other countries cheaper, faster
Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda also agreed in a
joint statement issued in Nairobi, to implement trade
facilitation reforms including reducing “non-tariff barriers”
such as burdensome and incompatible product regulations.
“I feel so proud
because this is an opportunity for the EAC countries, many of
which are landlocked, to sell their products within the region,
in Africa and across the whole world,” said Frederick Ngobi Gume,
Uganda’s Minister for Cooperatives, whose country is currently
chair of the East African Community (EAC).
Ngobi said the
initiative which was agreed during a meeting moderated by
Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD), will go a long way to stimulate trade
within the EAC and further afield.
“It also gives us an
opportunity to simplify the import and export of commodities.
Such an approach reduces bureaucracy, with online clearances
reducing contacts at the border,” he added.
of the nations, who are members of the EAC customs union and
common market committed to supporting National Trade
Facilitation Committees as the main vehicle for coordinating the
implementation of the trade facilitation measures at the
According to UNCTAD,
intra-EAC trade, while low compared to regions outside Africa,
is the highest among regional economic communities in Africa at
19.35 percent of exports.
Kituyi who moderated
the ministerial meeting, which took place in parallel with the
first UNCTAD Africa eCommerce Week that ends in Nairobi on
Friday, said EAC is a driving force in Africa, displaying good
practice in the implementation of trade facilitation reforms.
“The EAC Secretariat
has shown strong leadership, and I am confident this will
continue for smooth implementation at both national, regional
and, eventually, continental levels,” the former Kenyan trade
Kituyi said the
UNCTAD has supported the institutional architecture of trade
facilitation in the East Africa region for many years.
“For example, we
have helped launch trade portals, which simplify trade
procedures and reduce the time and cost of trade transactions in
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, and soon in Tanzania,” he added.
comes after most African countries signed the African
Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTFA) in March.
The AfCFTA envisages
establishing an African free trade area by building on regional
blocs such as the EAC where trading nations already work
South Africa joins
African Tripartite Free Trade Area
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) --
South Africa has deposited the
instrument of ratification of an agreement establishing the
Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI) said on Thursday.
The TFTA comprises
three regional economic blocks—the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
South Africa did
this on the margins of a meeting of African Union (AU) trader
ministers in Cairo, Egypt, on Dec. 12-13. The deposit of the
instrument means that South Africa has formally and legally
committed to the TFTA.
“It was the
tripartite initiative that led to the work of broadening the
integration beyond our existing regional communities and working
toward establishment of large free trade areas across our
continent,” said South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob
chair of the Tripartite Task Force and the secretary general of
COMESA, congratulated South Africa for the action.
She said six other
countries are in the process of depositing their instruments.
The TFTA was
launched in June 2015 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. It intends to
integrate the continent and create a big market of 626 million
people with a combined gross domestic product of 1.2 trillion
Twenty-two of 26
member states have signed the agreement. South Africa signed the
agreement in July 2017 and its parliament ratified the agreement
in October this year.
South Africa is the
fourth country to deposit the instrument of ratification. The
other three countries are Egypt, Uganda and Kenya. The agreement
will enter into full force once it has been ratified by 14
South Africa’s trade
with TFTA countries represents about 16 percent of its trade
with the world, the DTI said.
Kenya and China
to promote co-operation in science and innovation
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s education ministry and China’s top
scientific think-tank on Thursday in Nairobi signed a memorandum
of understanding (MOU) to promote cooperation in the areas of
science, research and innovation.
Under the MOU,
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya and
Chinese Academy of Sciences will support a variety of science,
technology, innovation and higher education cooperative
activities between China and Africa in the areas of ecosystem
and environment protection, biodiversity conservation and
sustainable development, agriculture, health, the development
and demonstration of adaptable technologies via the Sino-Africa
Joint Research Center (SAJOREC).
cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and
Technology of Kenya, said at the signing ceremony that Kenya
hopes to broaden Sino-Kenya cooperation to other institutions of
higher learning by facilitating international twinning in order
to develop an ecosystem necessary to foster cutting-edge
research and innovation that will go to full commercialization.
Mohamed said that
both countries will collaboratively put in place adequate
mechanisms to ensure the full realization of the agreement,
adding that Kenya’s collaboration with China constitutes a core
strand in the delivery of national development priorities.
She revealed that
the exchange of scholars between the two countries will position
Kenyan and Chinese institutions as global centers of innovation
and entrepreneurship which will in turn create capacity to drive
attainment of the continental education strategy for Africa and
Kenya’s Big Four agenda.
president of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the
institution attaches great importance to scientific cooperation
with the international community, and highly values its
relationship with Kenya and Africa.
Bai noted that over
the past five years, SAJOREC has served as an outreach of the
academy in Africa to develop substantial partnerships and
projects with around 20 academic institutions in Kenya and other
channel, we have provided 122 scholarships to qualified African
students to pursue post graduate courses in China,” he added.
He said that over
the next three years, SAJOREC will provide 150 new scholarships
to students from Africa.
Bai said that future
projects to be developed under the framework of SAJOREC will
include the joint development of research and development
centers for modern agriculture and traditional medicines, and a
ground-based satellite data receiving station.
SAJOREC is a
partnership between Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of
Agriculture and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It focuses on research in sustainable natural resource
conservation, biomedicines for universal health and modern