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East meets West as Kenya and Nigeria plan to take African trade to new heights


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

East meets West as Kenya and Nigeria plan to take African trade to new heights

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s first state visit to Kenya last week sparked the interest Africa’s business community. Speculation was rife as to what the outcome of trade and political talks with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta would be. This is the fourth time in under three years that presidents of the two countries have held bilateral talks, whose ideal goal is the integration of the East and West African trading blocs. The plan would create a 450 million-strong consumer base expected to propel the two countries to new economic heights. The political and economic weight Kenya and Nigeria hold in their respective regions further means that the benefits of a free-trade zone between the two would go a long way toward boosting intra-African trade, which has consistently been dismally low. According to the 2014 edition of the Africa Integration Index, conducted by payments company Visa, trade across the three sub-Saharan Africa clusters (South, West and East) — both between themselves and with the rest of the world — is very low. This has hindered the continent’s socio-economic progress. The key sub-Saharan Africa economies barely managed to score half of the global median of 100 points, with South Africa, Kenya and Ghana leading the continent in global trade networks, scoring 63, 53 and 52 points, respectively. Nigeria scored 40 points.

Source: Standard Media