Kenya and Somalia agree to deepen ties in trade, investment

Thursday, May 9th, 2024 08:15 | By
Miraa on transit. PHOTO/Print

Kenya and Somalia have pledged to strengthen economic co-operation, particularly in trade and investment, to bolster the economies of both nations.

This commitment comes in light of Somalia’s recent accession to the East African Community (EAC), a regional bloc meant to bolster economic integration and development among member states.

During discussions between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre in Nairobi, discussions on a joint mission to eliminate cartels and promote transparent and sustainable trade practices took centre stage.

Tangible benefits

Gachagua noted that despite the rich historical and cultural ties between the two neighbouring nations, bilateral trade remained minimal. In 2022, Kenya’s exports to Somalia amounted to $124.5 million (Sh15 billion), while imports were $581,700 (Sh71.5 million).

“There is no doubt that these trade volumes could be increased by leveraging the Kenya–Somalia relations into tangible benefits, creating opportunities for our citizens,” Gachagua emphasized.

Kenya and Somalia further resolved to work together towards removing barriers to facilitate the movement of people and goods, promoting investment, and opening up new mutually beneficial markets.

Gachagua challenged the respective Chambers of Commerce of the two countries to boost interaction between the private sectors.

He stressed that enhanced bilateral relations would advance shared economic prosperity.

The discussions between the two leaders also covered various areas of the economy, including defence, internal security, immigration, education, transport, infrastructure, and political affairs, among others.

Somalia’s admittance to the East African Community (EAC) offers the country an expanded market, and a positive peer pressure to improve on its security and general infrastructure.

Somalia joined other member countries including DR Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $240 billion, and an aggregated population of 300 million.

Demographically, Somalia adds to the EAC almost 20 million people in the population. Geographically it adds to the community the second largest coastline in Africa.

Kenya largely exports Khat to  Somalia and imports fish from the nation. There have been disputes in the khat trade which at times had taken political connotations, from now on and with the admittance of  Somalia to the EAC such disputes may be resolved in Arusha.

To foster sustainable agricultural and livestock development, the two governments tasked their respective cabinet ministers to initiate and finalize necessary MoUs promoting co-operation in Crop Development, Livestock Health, and Marketing, among others.

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