Lewis Njoka @LewisNjoka
High cost of doing business, politics of sectarianism and lack of adequate skills have been identified as some of the bottlenecks derailing realisation of borderless trade in Africa.
Also undermining efficient flow of business as envisioned in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are high cost of energy, transport, and cost of buying currency.
President Uhuru Kenyatta called on African governments to promote seamless continental integration to boost prosperity and create enough jobs for the youth.
He asked member countries to digitise their systems, saying transacting online would improve accountability, transparency and help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increase their market share across Africa.
The Head of State was speaking when he officially opened the 21st Comesa International Trade Fair and High Level Business Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, in Nairobi yesterday.
Uhuru said market integration on the continent must seek to create jobs for young educated people, adding that the government was looking to expand SMEs to create jobs. Zambian President Edgar Lungu asked regional leaders to dialogue to promote SMEs and trade, saying political will for integration had already been demonstrated.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said fragmented market as is the current situation in Africa, was a major hindrance to eradicating poverty. He said the continent was underproducing as well as underconsuming.
United Nations Conference on Development Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi, advised AfCTA members to revise their rules of origin to give African goods preference and integrate the market.
President Uhuru lamented the low intra-Africa trade, saying very little value addition takes place on the continent despite its youthful population.