New US Treaty Targets Investment in EAC
The US is planning a new incentive-laden trade investment treaty for the EAC, which it has identified as potential hub to host its regional business interests. This comes at a time when Asian nations such as China and India are aggressively investing across the region. “We are working on a treaty that can help drive investments in the region,” Michael Camunez, US Assistant Secretary for commerce, told a media briefing in Nairobi.
Kenya’s Export to Region Up
Kenya’s exports to the EAC grew by 34 percent in 2011 on the back of improved commodity prices. Exports to Uganda grew the most, from US$626mn to US$915mn — a 47 percent rise. Exports to Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi grew by 28.7, 25.7 and 8.2 percent respectively, according to Kenya’s Economic Survey 2012. The growth in export earnings was driven by a weak shilling and high global commodity prices. Kenya’s export earnings grew from US$5bn in 2010 to US$6.1bn in 2011. The statistics came as Kenya said it was looking at new export markets to diversify trade.
EAC Region Key to Taming Kenya’s Trade Imbalance
Deeper trade with EAC partners could help Kenya tame a widening imbalance between imports and exports that has left the country more vulnerable to external shocks with the risk of slowing down economic growth. High oil prices and weak exports have widened Kenya’s trade imbalance, leading to a current account deficit of 13.1 percent of the gross domestic product presently. Economists with the World Bank said deeper trade ties with EAC partners could help Kenya cushion itself from the shocks of a weakened global economy and worsening trade imbalance.
Statistics by the bank show that EAC partners presently export more goods and services among themselves than to any other region Total goods and service exports from EAC partner states more than tripled over the last decade from US$6bn in 2002 to US$19.5bn in 2010.
Regular Food Reports to Improve Cross-Border Trade
The East African Grain Council has revamped its market information system by launching the regional agricultural trade intelligence network to enhance food security in the region. The new facility will offer information on daily prices of agriculture produce, weekly market reports and monthly cross-border trade, mainly about grain produced and marketed in the region.
New Technology to Improve Milk Production, Trade
East Africa remains a milk deficit region despite some of its member states producing excess milk, and leaders are now calling for the adaptation of technology to enhance intra-regional trade of the commodity.