Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged African governments to open their borders.
Speaking at the Pan African Parliament in Midrand, Kenyatta told members of the house that the continent’s potential could be realised only if African governments worked together and made it easier to trade with each other.
“There cannot be a good reason why it is easier for us to trade with Asia, Europe and the Americas rather than our own fellow Africans.
“Africa must significantly open her markets to African products to promote this ideal. That process can only be achieved if we start by opening up our borders to each other,” Kenyatta said.
He called for governments to significantly reduce the cost of inter-Africa trade and to forge partnerships which would take the continent into a new industrial development.
Partnerships in East Africa only began in July 2000 with Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. This community undertook to establish a customs union, common market, monitoring union and a political federation. The customs union is already in place and the common market goal is gradually being achieved.
SADC is much older.
“Despite our individually small economies, the integration has placed the entire region on a trajectory of growth that will fundamentally transform Africa,” Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta also announced that Kenya would be the second country after Mali to sign a protocol that will see the Pan African Parliament becoming a legislative body.