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Monday, 18 June 2018

It is a curious coincidence that, with the UK vote on membership of the European Union next month, the future of the bloc is uncertain when some in Africa lament the implementation of similar regional trade alignments at home. “We really have not become integrated as an African people into a real union,” said the Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe a couple of years ago, referring to the African Union (AU). “And this is the worry, which my brother has, and the worry I have; the worry perhaps others also have. That we are not yet at that stage which was foretold by our fathers when they created this organisation.” The former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was also a vocal proponent of the idea of a unified continent. “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa,” he told the AU in 2009, in an inauguration address on becoming chairman of the 53-nation body, which he founded in 2001.


A delegation of Polish investors is in Rwanda to explore investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy. Iwona Woicka-Zulawska, the deputy director at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' department of economic cooperation, said the business trip aimed at creating a strong platform that will enable investors from both countries to forge strong trade partnerships thus strengthening bilateral and economic relationships. It is also part of the many initiatives to foster trade relations between the two countries. The investors represent 10 Polish firms involved in agro-processing, ICT, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairman of the local Private Sector Federation (PSF), said the three-day tour is part of the strategy to boost trade ties between the two countries. In 2014, Rwanda's Private Sector Federation signed a bilateral trade agreement with the Polish Chamber of Commerce as a means of fostering business between the two countries. The deal, allows the two to share expertise, business information, trade opportunities among others.


This week, Denmark's environment and food minister Esben Lunde Larsen is in Kenya as part of a Danish export delegation, which aims to gain a foothold in the country and boost its ability to produce more fresh fruit and vegetables. Larsen has signed a co-operation agreement with Kenya to improve food security in the African nation. “Kenya has considerable potential as a food-producing and food-exporting nation, and it’s positive that we can help contribute with Danish expertise in a growing market,” said Larsen. In the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business Index, Kenya shot up 28 spots on the global rankings, attesting to the nation’s significant growth potential and its relevance as a regional trade hub in east Africa.


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