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Ruto urges COMESA members to adopt a new approach to trade tactics

In a bid to revitalize trade within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), President William Ruto of Kenya has urged member countries to reevaluate their approach to trade and adopt new strategies.


The entire world, ladies and gentlemen, is settled. With enormous and intertwined economic, geopolitical and climate crisis, which have exerted enormous adverse impact on our continent and also our region. This evolving crisis were catalyzed by the Covid 19 pandemic with uniquely devastating consequences on our economies.

President William Ruro

Although we are now fully embarked on the path to normalcy, we have the singular opportunity to act collectively in crafting effective strategies for exhilarating recovery and deepening resilience to anchor sustainable policies, mechanisms, and frameworks. Green investment is one area of unexplored opportunity to resolutely pursue socioeconomic development, incorporating ecologically sound and environmentally responsible practices.

Our progress in achieving sustainable development goals will increasingly depend on enhanced investment in infrastructure and assets that are necessary for rapid economic growth, but environmentally friendly and resilient to climate impacts.

President William Ruto at COMESA held in South Africa. PHOTO/ Courtesy

The aim, of course, is to achieve overall reduction in emissions. Enhance energy and resourced efficiency. Develop facilities that can withstand extreme pragmatic pressure and Ava loss of diversity and critical ecosystems. Kenya has made bold commitments to pursue green investment throughout the country and to incorporate ecologically sustainability into the implementation of every policy program and project.

This way, we shall be constantly vigilant to opportunities to implement initiatives ranging from solid waste management to agro forestry as urgent strategic investments.

Our energy transport and communications infrastructure development program embraces ambitious green commitments and explicitly pursue ecologically responsive climate resilience and environmental sustainability as integral Parameters of progress.

We have found many partners for our green agenda and investors as well as other development partners to complement our efforts to mainstream and institutionalize green investment. Our sense of urgency in this matter is informed by reports from the United Nations Environmental Program, UNEP that to fulfill the S D G by 2030 And the net zero aspirations by 2050, the world must invest approximately US dollar 6.9 trillion annually in the necessary sustainable resilient infrastructure.

On trade the combined population of ESA member states at 580 million. With a GDP of US dollars, 768 billion is a tremendous opportunity. The potential for intra commerce trade is simply enormous, and the demand for value added products is bound to keep growing well into the future. Value adding over higher returns incentivizes, industrialization, enhances productivity, depends. Technological advancement increases high quality jobs. Ball starts wealth creation and promotes competitiveness.

There is a very strong case for us in COMESA to shift away from primary production, especially of agricultural commodities to industrial manufacturing across all sectors. I listened to you, Mr. President, and you spoke to this subject. We cannot continue as a continent to be a continent without exports primary products.

#KE-CH Hotline

Our contribution as a continent to international trade is only 3% in a case where we contribute close to 18% of the wild population at the moment. Our intra Africa trade is only at 17%, while others, whether it is in Europe, it is at 70%. In Asia, it’s at 60%. In other areas, it’s at 40%. In Africa is only at 17%. It speaks to the huge opportunity that we have for intra Africa trade, and that is why I agree with you, that we should eliminate the borders that act as barriers for trade, for movement of people, for movement of goods, and for movement of services

The Africa Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as COMESA strategic objectives have been incorporated in to Kenya’s national Transformation agenda to empower us to pursue opportunities locally and further a field coherently, consistently, efficiently and effectively.

We have also positioned Kenya and are championing for the radical repositioning of Africa as the clean, green, young continent of the future in order to exploit the opportunities arising from global transition to green industrialization. And to transform the challenges posed by climate crisis into opportunities to lead the next industrial revolution from Africa.

We are therefore deeply committed to COMESAS vision of prosperity through integration. Our theme for the 22nd Commerce Summit resonates very well with Kenya, especially our aspiration for radical national transformation. The promotion of green investment to power a zero carbon global industrial order is a priority.

Through robust policy, we have taken positive measures to construct an investment climate that attracts high quality global capital to our economy and to promote a business environment that encourages value addition, and secondary manufacturing. I therefore commend The secretariat and the organizers for their work in arranging this summit and for identifying this theme to highlight important development agendas and to anchor our deliberations.

Read Also: Ruto Promises Young Talents  a Place in National Economy


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