Sep 26- 2023
Officials of the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs of Kenya; Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry; Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Kenya Association of Manufacturers; Kenya Bureau of Standards; KEPROBA
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Officials of the Canary International General Trading Limited;
Ghanaian and Kenyan Businesses present;
Deputy MD and officials of Kasapreko Company Limited;
Officials of ECOBANK Kenya, Members of the Media, Fellow Ghanaians;
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to address you this afternoon, and wish on behalf of my staff to warmly welcome all of you to the Ghana High Commission in Nairobi. At the outset, allow me to underscore the fact that today’s event is not only an indication of the strong bonds of friendship between Ghana and Kenya, but also evidence of our rapidly improving relationship, which has been marked over the years by close historical ties and shared vision for enhanced cooperation and partnership.
The ever-improving bonds of friendship and cordial relations between our two countries did not start today, but have existed since the days of our first Presidents, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta as they collaborated in their quest to liberate their respective countries from colonialism. Ghana and Kenya under the two leaders shared the common aspiration of supporting other countries to achieve independence, as well as the liberation of the African continent.
We believe these strong political and diplomatic ties should also drive economic transformation and development. Today we have further impetus to strengthen our cooperation by harnessing the potential of intra-African trade. The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose Secretariat Ghana has the privilege to host, provides yet another incentive to strengthen economic cooperation, explore trade and investment opportunities in our two countries for accelerated growth to improve the living standards of our people, and by extension, the entire continent.
As you may be aware, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was officially launched on 1st January 2021. However, no meaningful trade took place after one and a half years. It was for this reason that the AfCFTA Secretariat launched a pilot programme called the Guided Trade Initiative to commence trading among some eight (8) countries, namely Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Tunisia, Rwanda, Mauritius, Ghana and Egypt.
The purpose of the Initiative is to:
- test the readiness of Member States to implement the AfCFTA;
- demonstrate that the AfCFTA is functioning; and
- give hope to the continent that trading under the AfCFTA is achievable.
The participation of Ghana and Kenya in the Guided Trade Initiative under the AfCFTA is a significant development in our economic relations. On 23rd September 2022, we witnessed the export of locally-made exide batteries from the Associated Battery Manufacturing EA Ltd, the first Kenyan company to start trading under AfCFTA to Yesudem Company limited of Ghana. Also, on 5th October 2022, H.E. Dr. William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya flagged off the first consignment of KETEPA tea to Ghana.
In May this year, Ghana organised a business and investment expo which brought over 70 Ghanaian businesses to Nairobi to showcase and sell their products. Some were able to cling business deals with their Kenyan counterparts before returning to Ghana.
Another significant achievement during the Expo was the opening of the Ghana Trade House which is currently in operation at Shameer Park on the Mombasa Road.
We are here today to witness the launching of ‘Kasapreko Products’ (Alcoholic Beverages) including the famous ‘Alomo Bitters’. For those wondering what ‘Alomo’ means … it is a word used in Ghana to describe a companion of the opposite sex. Canary International General Trading Limited is a Ghanaian trading company, and today, together with its partner Kasapreko Company Limited is venturing into the Kenyan market with their assorted products of high international standards.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, these and many such efforts are the practical steps and measures required to give effect to the African Continental Free Trade Area and to ensure its successful implementation for the benefits of our people. But above all else, we cannot over-emphasise the fact that the success of intra-African trade, and for that matter the AfCFTA, depends to a greater extent, and largely on a demonstrable political will and commitment by African leaders and their countries.
As I conclude, I would like to reiterate my heartfelt appreciation to officials of the Ministries of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs; Trade, Investment and Industry and all other Kenyan institutions and agencies and to Canary International General Trading Limited for making today's ceremony a success. It is my fervent hope that these modest efforts will serve as a watershed for enhanced and mutually beneficial bilateral relations between Ghana and Kenya on one hand and on the entire Africa continent, on the other.
Today is an important holiday in Ghana, commemorating the 114 birthday of our first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah so join us to honour his memory by accelerating the pace of Africa’s economic integration through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
Thank you all for your kind attention. Asanteni Sana!