Foreign CS Amina Mohamed urges Africa to unite and push for better trade deals

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says Africa should present a common agenda when the world converges in Nairobi this December for a trade summit.

Speaking in Geneva, Ms Mohamed said the continent must push against “distortions” in the multilateral trading systems which she argued “continue to limit growth of trade in many products from the developing world.”

“We believe the development of export capacity is imperative for rapid and sustained socio-economic development,” she told reporters after a World Trade Organisation (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference Informal Session.

Ms Mohamed cited various impediments to trade such as tariff and non-tariff barriers like sanitary requirements, which have been key obstacles for Africa’s trade in the global arena.

Although Africa trades more with outside world, it imports more than it exports, making it a net loser in trade agreements.

As Nairobi prepares to host the tenth World Trade Organisation conference, Ms Mohamed said she hoped the meeting will reach a better agreement to handle the trade deficit facing Africa.

“We hope that the MC 10 will usher in a regime that will be more open towards exports from developing countries,” said the CS.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

The WTO is an international organisation that mainly regulates international trade. It has 162 members including Kenya and often meets once every two years to discuss system of rules, sort out trading problems and establish agreements on international trade.

Some of the treaties they have reached include the Trade Facilitation Agreement which is supposed to help faster movement, clearance of goods and customs cooperation as well as technical assistance among members.

However, such an agreement will only enter into force once two thirds of the WTO members ratify it.

But the Kenyan top diplomat also admitted that African countries must make adequate domestic reforms in order to compete on the world stage.

In Geneva, Kenya also hosted a mini-exhibition on opportunities available to invest in Kenya.

On Wednesday, Ms Mohamed said the show had generated “wide interests and enquiries.”

“The mini-exhibition typified the unwavering efforts of the Kenyan government to market Kenyan goods and services around the world.

“Trade is an important aspect in our national development. Through this mini-exhibition, a wide array of Kenyan goods and services were displayed,” she said.