African Press International (API)

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Uhuru set for state visit to Botswana

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2016

AGGREY MUTAMBO -1 | Jumapili, Juni 26, 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves the country on Monday for a three-day state visit to Botswana in what State House said was at the invitation of his host Ian Khama.

State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told journalists in Nairobi Sunday that the visit will mainly involve discussions on enhancing trade and tourism, as well as other issues affecting African economies.

“The two heads of state will discuss a number of issues of bilateral and regional significance.

“These include the Tripartite Free Trade agreement, which the President hopes will be ratified by all involved states soon; trade and economic ties with the southern African country, industry and manufacturing, mining and tourism,” he said.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA) is an arrangement signed in Egypt in June 2015 by countries belonging to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) in a bid to united these trading blocs.

The area comprises of 26 countries, covering an area of about 17 million square kilometres with about 630 million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of about Sh120 trillion, according to the East African Community.

The idea of bringing the blocs together is to widen the market by reducing trading barriers such as the movement of people.

According to a bulletin by the EAC, this will be done by harmonising trade policies across the blocs on key issues such as such as customs.

But every country’s parliament will have to ratify the agreement first before it becomes operational.

President Kenyatta’s trip to Botswana becomes the second visit to southern Africa after he toured Angola early this month to attend the Great Lakes meeting.

In 2016 alone, the President has travelled to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Israel, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

The President is also expected to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 4, 2016 and later the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 11, 2016 in Nairobi.

End. Nation news Kenya

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