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President pushes for strong EAC

By | Published Fri, September 4th 2009 at 00:00, Updated Fri, September 4th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

By PPS and Peter Orengo

President Kibaki has underscored the importance of regional integration, terming it the way of the future.

The President noted that the integration of small African economies was the only way to attract investments to the region and give impetus to intra-Africa trade.

During a meeting with Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Peter Pinda at Harambee House, Kibaki said Kenya was committed to the ideals of the East African Community (EAC).

"We all have an obligation to strengthen the EAC. A strong EAC is a big attraction to investors. African states must also trade among themselves more aggressively instead of relying on traditional channels of trade with Europe," said the President.

Growing opportunities

Kibaki noted the growing opportunities in the region due to the EAC, saying Kenya is today the second largest investor in Tanzania with an investment portfolio of Sh160 billion.

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Saying he was happy to visit the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Mr Pinda said research institutes should step up exchange of technical ideas for the benefit of the people of East Africa.

And Prime Minister Raila Odinga thanked Tanzania on its role in resolving the 2007 post-election crisis.

The PM, who also held talks with Mr Pinda on bilateral relations between the two countries, appreciated the role played by Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete in resolving the conflict that almost got out of hand.

The two PMs underscored the need to enhance the existing co-operation in energy, security, trade, tourism, transport, agriculture, environment and capacity building sectors among East African nations.

"We talked of a possibility importing gas from Sombosombo in Tanzania to boost our distribution," Raila said.

 


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