Foreign missions in the country have been urged to share market intelligence information from their existing markets in order to increase the volume of trade across the borders.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Political and Diplomatic Affairs Secretary Ambassador Tom Amollo has underscored the need for regional integration and opening of markets to increase intra trade and reap from the benefits of expanded markets.
Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday during a meeting between commercial attaches from embassies based in the country, local manufacturers and officials from the department of international trade, Mr. Amollo said there was need for joint trade committees to be implemented through commercial sections in the embassies with the aim of linking trading partners.
He said there was need Kenya to focus on industrialization and more so areas where we have comparative advantage, especially in agriculture and the extractive industries.
Mr. Amollo said countries should work towards eliminating trade barriers hindering business to boost trade in the national and regional economic fronts.
The envoy said Africa must accelerate the process of economic integration noting that presently, trade restrictions remained higher in Africa than any other part of the world thereby accounting for the low level of intra-Africa trade at only 12 percent compared to 60 percent in Europe, and 35 percent in Asia.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Manager for Trade Research and Policy Kassim Were decried the low trade volumes across the East African region to Europe, and called for the operationalization of the 120 Memorandum of Understandings signed between trading countries aimed at easing trade.
He called for strengthened ties and easily accessible information on trade among the missions.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga said Kenyan traders had identified textile and clothing, leather industry and furniture as areas with potential for growth.
Mr. Wakiaga said the sector was geared towards achieving the 15 percent projected growth through competitiveness.
The CEO called on diversification of economies and expansion of the manufacturing sector which would eventually be transformed into highly competitive global manufacturing hubs.
Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya Angelina Wapakhabulo who spoke on behalf the foreign missions said there was mistrust among persons doing business, with two cases of people defrauded across the borders reported weekly.
She urged foreign business people to do due diligence through the embassies to ascertain the authenticity of the people they engaged with, before executing any commercial deals.