Kenya Times, Nairobi
Govt committed to trade integration, says Kituyi
By John Korir
14 March 2007
Kenya has entered into several regional and global trading arrangements aimed at alleviating poverty in the country, Trade and Industry minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi has said.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, during the opening ceremony of a two day Trade Development and Poverty conference, the minister said the country has become increasingly open and dependent on trade for development and growth.
He named the East African Community (EAC), COMESA, WTO, ACP/EC and EPA as some of the regional and global organizations partnering with the country in so far as trade and other issues are concerned.
The minister said the ministry will address issues of coordination, collaboration and coherence to trade policy-making with a view to putting in place arrangements to undertake re-organization and legalizing the negotiating structures for efficiency and accountability.
Dr Kituyi, however, said the increased participation in international trade has created a range of opportunities and challenges.
He observed that the resulting openness of the Kenyan economy has had mixed blessings with big businesses registering tremendous growth.
But the minister said liberalization has not benefited the poor in any way as living standards had continued to decline to the extent that about 60 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line.
Dr Kituyi further said the declining donor assistance, lack of competitiveness of the country’s exports, low productivity of labour and reliance on narrow range of products destined to few markets had highly contributed to the state of affairs in the country.
The minister, at the same time, lamented that lack of preparedness for globalization and emergence into the country’s traditional markets of key players like China, India and Brazil had made matters worse for the country.
He said this has prevented the country from maximizing on the benefits from the available open and preferential export markets.