The Source 21 COMESA International Trade Fair and High Level Business Summit took place from 18th to 21st July 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Summit, hosting during the 3rd Kenya Trade Week, centered on manufacturing competitiveness, digitalization and trade facilitation, digital financial services and regional payment systems, standards and quality issues, smart and sustainable cities and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The event running, under the theme, “Powering Regional Integration through Trade”, brought together policymakers and the private sector from the 21 COMESA member states to deliberate on ways to promote and advance cross border trade across the representative states.
The President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta emphasized that regional integration promotes trade and brings together countries for a shared prosperity. “With increased intra – COMESA trade, there are opportunities for structural transformation of Member states, which hinges on improved productivity and competitiveness. This pivots on the ability to create sustainable conditions for enterprise creation and growth that responds to national and regional markets,” added President Kenyatta.
Heads of States from Kenya, Mauritius, Uganda and Zambia engaged business leaders and regional policy drivers on practical solutions during the Presidential Public Private Roundtable, where they discussed key strategies to enhance industry competitiveness, local sourcing and intra-regional trade.
Recommendations discussed focused on the presidential dialogue, trade access, promotion of manufacturing competitiveness and financial access across COMESA, whose implementation will result in increased competitiveness for local products and market expansion, thus increasing regional trade.
The Chairman of CBC, Mr. Marday Venkatasamy reiterated the core interests of the private sector to tackle the ongoing challenges that have contributed to the intra-trade deficit by inspiring consumer confidence in made in Africa products and services.
Speaking during the event, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chairman and COMESA Business Council Vice Chairman, Mr. Sachen Gudka noted that, “There is increased interdependence of countries of the world through the forces of globalization, which is occurring mainly through trade integration and manufacturing is the bedrock for this transformation. This transformation can be realized by having in place robust infrastructural developments in our region and paradigm shift towards inclusive industrialization, which will spur growth and lay a foundation for innovative economies.”
The Event that was organized by the Government of Kenya, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and COMESA Business Council (CBC), provided a great opportunity for industry players to network and learn from their peers through exhibitions and businesses to business linkages. Over 80 local and international exhibitors also showcased an array of their high quality products.