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Kenya calls for creation of enlarged market in East Africa

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has urged East Africa’s business community to consider forming a common market in the region.

He was speaking on Tuesday to members of the East African Business Council (EABC), a body of the private sector in the East Africa Community (EAC), which groups Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

"We should have one common market that brings together all the six countries. This will give a true meaning of the EAC spirit," Ruto said.

Ruto lamented the lack of a common market against a backdrop of the integration process in the region.

"You will be better off when you present yourselves under companies bearing East Africa Community (EAC) symbol than your individual countries when competing for tenders to undertake mega projects within the region," he told the EABC members.

Ruto called on the private sector to play an effective role in accelerating trade among the EAC member countries, saying the private sector should encourage business entities and partnerships across the EAC region.

"There is need for us to encourage a situation where we should have companies with partners from the six EAC member countries. By doing this we will make our integration a reality," said Ruto.

Ruto called for unity in eliminating non-tariff barriers that have become stumbling block to the free flow of business within the EAC member countries.

He said governments in the region could create a conducive environment including improvement of infrastructure if the private sector took the lead by coming up with proposals aimed at accelerating the integration process.

EABC chairman, Econie Nijimbere, praised the role Kenya had played in introducing various reforms to support the EAC business community.

He singled out the introduction of interstate pass and the use of identification cards by EAC citizens, implementation of EAC single tourist visa, and the abolishment of the railway development levy on goods originating from EAC partner states as some of the efforts spearheaded by Kenya.


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