President William Ruto has asked African countries to fix its infrastructure to stimulate trade in the region.
Speaking on Monday during the opening of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Council of Ministers Meeting and the African Private Sector Dialogue on AfCFTA in Nairobi, the President said the continent must establish a sustainable funding to accelerate the overhaul of its infrastructure.
He said governments, the private sector and development partners must partner to further this cause. He noted that the lack of efficient transport system continues to impede investments. “This has made it costly to do business, thereby reducing the continent’s competitiveness,” he said.
The head of state also called for the speeding up of the establishment of a common payment and settlement system to support trade between African countries. “The system will be designed to eliminate the challenges of cross-border payments; this will accelerate intra-Africa trade,” he said.
The President appealed to countries yet to sign and ratify AfCFTA to join its peers in fashioning the next global economic powerhouse. He said AfCFTA will stimulate commerce within Africa, generate jobs, enhance manufacturing and drive economic growth.
If actualised by 2035, AfCFTA will help more than 30 million people escape extreme poverty and will also expand intra-African exports by about 80 per cent. The President called on African leaders to strengthen the African Union by allowing it to negotiate on behalf of the continent. “We can negotiate better if we are a unit.” He said.
Comoros President and Chairperson of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government Azali Assoumani, Champion of the AfCFTA and Former Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou, Secretary General of AfCFTA Wamkele Mene, Cabinet and Principal secretaries, the private sector among others were present.