Kenya to support regional neighbours in joining WTO

Kenya will continue to support acceding countries in the African continent to finalize negotiations to enable them join the World Trade Organization

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb. Amina Mohammed said it was necessary for countries to be members of the WTO as it provides member states with a platform to negotiate trade rules that govern the conduct of multilateral trade.

Amina said Africa had become an important player in the multi trading system with at least 43 African members representing nearly one quarter of the WTO’s 164 member states, a role she said would be even more significant if the eight countries on the queue for membership will join.

The CS said the accession of sister countries in the region will directly contribute to the smooth finalization of the negotiations and promote intra-Africa trade which is currently low compared to other regions of the world.

Regional integration is one of the main priorities of Agenda 2063, the long-term development framework of Africa, she said and added It is among the five priorities identified by the African Development Bank to be implemented in the next ten years.

She noted that the accession process to WTO is often complex and demanding and acceding countries should have a substantive commitment on political, financial and technical fronts at the highest level.

Speaking Monday during a regional dialogue conference on WTO Accessions for the greater Horn of Africa at a Nairobi hotel, Amina noted that most countries in the Horn of Africa belonged to similar economic blocs among them the East African community, COMESA and IGAD and the Tripartite and Continental Free Trade Area.

Countries participating in three-day event organized by WTO, the government of Kenya and University of Nairobi School of Economics included Ethiopia, Union of Comoros, Federal Republic of Somalia, Republic of Sudan and Kenya.

She said the technical working groups meeting in Durban, South Africa this week on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) intends to update and modernize the trade policy agenda not only continently but also globally in a way that will make it work quicker and faster.

They made significant breakthroughs in trade and good services and Kenya as participants of CFTA we urge WTO to be attentive to the progress being made in the CFTA,she noted.

Maika Oshikawa, the Director of Accessions, Representatives of International Organizations, said WTO acknowledges the role Kenya plays in helping other nations in the accession process, which she noted requires a lot of capacity building and technical support.

Source: Kenya News Agency