Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
AFRICAN countries have been urged to open up their borders to scale up intra-regional trade and enhance economic integration.
The call comes at a time when most countries have embraced the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which came into force early last year.
Speaking during a hybrid Kenya trade market survey dissemination seminar that was hosted by ZimTrade on Monday, Retailers Association of Kenya chief executive officer, Ms Wambui Mbarire, said one of the things African countries need to learn is to complement each other on trade and not to always compete.
“As we were coming, one of the challenges we have encountered is that we were asked where are we going and when are we coming back,” she said.
“How can we open the boundaries because if we open boundaries then we are able to move and increase trade effectively within our continent.
“Instead of competing, we have integration skills that we can share in complementing each other.
As a continent we need to complement each other not always competing.”
ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru, said Kenya was the largest economy in East Africa hence it was a strategic gateway for Zimbabwe to penetrate that region.
He said the recent market survey revealed huge trade opportunities, which Zimbabwean companies should capitalise on.
“Kenya is in one of our top 10 trading partners when we do business,” said Mr Majuru.
He said Kenya and Zimbabwe should take advantage of the AfCFTA and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) treaties, which bring benefits like duty free facilities among members.
During the dissemination seminar, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ZimTrade and Fresh Produce Export Association of Kenya.
Mr Majuru said the MoU would help promote trade of horticulture produce between the two countries.
ZimTrade export developing manager, Mr Tatenda Marume, said Kenya has a huge population of about 54 million, which presents a good market for Zimbabwean exporters.
He said some of the products that Zimbabwe could trade in Kenya include fertiliser, seeds, irrigation equipment and stock feeds.
The founder of Farm Shop in Zimbabwe, Mr Farayi Ziswa, who is an investor in Kenya said there is no need for Zimbabweans to go direct to Kenya to sell their products as they can utilise electronic-commerce platforms to trade. — @SikhulekelaniM1