Prof. Stephen Karingi - Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, Economic Commission for Africa
Speaking during a Public Lecture at the University of Nairobi Towers on August 23, 2019, Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, Economic Commission for Africa, observed that with 54 African countries opening their borders and allowing free movement of goods and services, African entrepreneurs are bound to benefit greatly from the wider market. He pointed out that currently, African countries are trading more with the countries in the West and the East than with their immediate neighbours.
“The agenda of African Continental Free Trade Area, was an idea that was set forth by the founding fathers of the continent. We are here to prioritize the idea and actualize it. They advanced the agenda of African integration, “he said.
Dr. Karingi observed that the Kenyan market is saturated and hence there is a need to create opportunities for companies to expand across the African continent. “We need to create opportunities for companies across the region to trade. Kenya is a leading exporter of engineers, doctors among other professionals,” he observed.
According to Dr. Karingi, the progress of ACFTA is obviously facing its fair share of challenges which include trade wars between the United States of America and China, Brexit among other challenges.
Going forward, the various regional trading blocks that make up the African continent will be dissolved to allow for the regional integration. Such regional blocks include East African Community, EAC, Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA, South African Development Community, SADDAC and Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. Regional bodies have tough treaties on social economic issues that will have to be dropped to allow free trade among the African countries.
Prof. Stephen Karingi receiving a gift from DVC Academic Affairs, Prof. Julius Ogeng'o
Also present was Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Julius Ogeng’o and several other invited guests from Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority, Africa Development Bank, Kenyatta University among others.