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Lack of political-will hurting trade within Africa

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Lack of policy-making is hurting efforts to increase trade between African countries, trade expert told delegates yesterday at the just concluded East and Central Africa Regional Research (ESA) convention in Nairobi.

Former deputy Chairperson of African Union Commission, Erastus Mwencha said that other than bureaucracy and high tariff barriers, lack of political will posed the greatest growth impediment for intra-African trade, adding that free movement of goods and people are key ingredients to unlocking economic growth in the region.

“Non-tariff barriers and lack of political will from African states are still a major handicap to intra-Africa growth. But also the quality of services like electricity and good infrastructure which need to be addressed to boost growth in Africa,” he said, who urged ESA member states to implement findings of the first ESA conference held in 2014 in Zimbabwe.

Excessive involvement of other governmental agencies such as border police, cumbersome customs procedures as well as inadequate use of Information Technology among other factors were found to be some of the greatest restrictive barriers hindering trade practices between East African countries and economies in South African region.

“The challenge is not the system, the non-tariff barrier emanate from people who are not even in the trade chain, and you find so many people who interfere with the systems in place who cause delay and frustrations. So we require what we call political will for us to implement things so that those in the trade chains are left to their work,” said KRA Acting Commissioner, Customs Ms. Mercy Njuguna.

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