NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya on Friday called for increased intra-Africa
trade to boost economic development.
principal secretary in the ministry of industry, trade and
cooperatives, told journalists in Nairobi that the current level
of intra-Africa trade stands at 12 percent versus an estimated
59 percent for the European Union and 37 percent in North
intra-Africa holds the key to transform Africa into a major
industrial and economic giant,” Kiptoo said during a forum on
Kenya’s preparations to participate in the Intra-African Trade
Fair (IATF) that will take place on Dec. 11-17 in Egypt.
The inaugural trade
fair is being organized by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank)
and the African Union. An Intra-Africa Trade Finance and
Payments Conference will run alongside the pan-African trade
According to the
organizer, the IATF intends to attract approximately 70,000
visitors, buyers and sellers as well as 1,000 exhibitors.
Kiptoo said that so
far 11 Kenyan firms are expected to showcase their products
during the continental trade fair. Kiptoo said that Kenya is
prioritizing trade with the African continent due to its huge
He added that Africa
is already the most important export market for Kenya because
its accounts for about 45 percent of outbound trade.
The Kenyan official
said Africa absorbs most of Kenya’s manufactured exports as
compared to the rest of world that buy unprocessed agricultural
He said that Kenya
is targeting foreign investments that will be used to produce
goods for Africa as well as the rest of the world.
Afreximbank regional chief operating officer in east Africa said
that so far 42 African countries have confirmed and taken up
country pavilions at the IATF.
Matereke said that
the exhibition will target agriculture and agro-processing,
automotive, clothing and textiles, construction, consumer goods,
light manufacturing as well as creative industries.
He noted that very
few countries contribute to intra-African trade with the top
four being South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Nigeria. The AU has
set a target of increasing intra-African trade to 24 percent by
official said that one of the biggest challenges towards
expanding intra-Africa trade is lack of adequate infrastructure
to link the continent.
He revealed that the
current stock of infrastructure in the continent presently
carries 102 trillion Kenya shillings (around 1 trillion U.S.
dollars) worth of trade.
Matereke, lack of access to trade and market information around
the African continent also hinders growth of intra-Africa trade.
He said that through
import substitutions, intra-African trade can go up to 38
percent due to the continent’s high import bill from the rest of
Peter Biwott, chief
executive officer of Export Promotion Council said that once the
African continental free trade area is operationalized, it will
open up enormous opportunities for Kenyan manufacturers.
He said that Kenya
is keen to participate in the African trade fair because the
event will provide Kenyan exporters with a platform for entry
into a single market of over one billion people.