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CEOs seek bigger role to boost East Africa trade

Dennis Awori
Toyota Kenya chairman Dennis Awori. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Private sector chief executives are seeking greater involvement to reverse a deficit by enhancing cross-border trade within East Africa.

Toyota Kenya chairman Dennis Awori said the business community must actively engage respective governments in seeking a more favourable environment.

“Kenya has for long been seen as a big brother but exports from Uganda to Kenya are much higher than Kenya’s export to Uganda. Protestionism via imposition of non-trade barriers does not serve any good for East Africa nations’ interests. Let us interact and promote cross-border investments, movement of raw materials and processed goods,” he said.

He spoke Tuesday while addressing a CEOs’ meeting in Nairobi to introduce the upcoming Africa CEO forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda between March 25- 26.

“East Africa needs to work as a team to safeguard its investments from an onslaught of foreign investments and this can best be done by allowing inter-regional competition, sales and networking among companies thereby fast-tracking information and knowledge transfer among local companies,” he said.

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Chandaria Industries CEO Darshan Chandaria supported establishment of venture capital firms saying funding local startups creates local solutions to various problems.

General Electric’s executive director Brenda Mbathi supported calls for multinational-small and medium enterprises linkages saying it helped create a platform for Kenyan companies to thrive into fully fledged export companies.

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