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Agoa forum gives Kenya great opportunity

By | July 17th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya is scheduled to host the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum next month in Nairobi.

This is a historic opportunity for the country to show the rest of the world we are not only the regional economic powerhouse, but also a resilient nation that has the ability and willingness to pull itself out of the 2007 post-election quagmire.

The purpose of Agoa is to assist sub-Saharan Africa countries improve their economic relations with the US through a favoured trade pact.

Although it is a great honour for Kenya to host the Eighth Agoa conference, which brings together 40 Agoa-eligible countries, we need to put our act together to reap the benefits of hosting the forum.

The US has warned that by continuing to drag our feet on key reforms as stipulated in Agenda Four of the Grand Coalition Accord, Kenya risks losing the Agoa facility.

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The key reforms desired include the enactment of a new constitution, reforming the police and putting in place a strong and independent electoral commission. Besides reform, there is low-level public awareness, unreliable infrastructure, and high-energy costs that push up the cost of production.

For these reasons, Kenya has failed to take full advantage of Agoa, only trading just under 20 per cent of the items against over 6,500 products under the Act.

The conference presents a great opportunity for Kenya to learn from others and also prepare us to make the most of this export opportunity. It is time to act.


African Growth Opportunity Act Agoa
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