Uhuru urges E. Africa firms to be innovative (Daily Nation (Kenya))

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for innovative and competitive businesses in East Africa to boost the region’s economies.

We can no longer afford businesses that are either involved in corruption or do not embrace the innovation we require to achieve our goals, the President said.

He spoke yesterday during a business forum in Uganda.

President Kenyatta arrived in the lakeside town of Entebbe on Saturday for his first State visit to Uganda.

Earlier, he held bilateral talks with his host, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. The meeting focused on security, anti-terrorism, trade and investment.

At the business forum, Mr Kenyatta said the region could only be assured of prosperity if the enthusiasm, innovation and creativity of the youth were rewarded.

The President said it is through dialogue that businesses can identify opportunities and establish networks and partnerships.

He said business forums are important in forging stronger ties between the private sector in Kenya and Uganda.

The two countries stand to benefit further from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa-East African Community-Southern African Development Community Tripartite Free Trade Area, launched in June, if they work closely.

Kenya and Uganda are making efforts to come up with a framework under which the business community of the two countries can work together and take advantage of the single market of 26 African countries and 700 million people across Eastern and Southern Africa.

President Kenyatta praised the two countries’ chambers of commerce and industry for signing a memorandum of understanding that is aimed at improving trade.

Last year, trade between the two nations was valued at $880 million (Sh88 billion), with Kenyan exports to Uganda standing at $700 million (Sh70 billion) and imports at $180 million (S8 billion), according to data from President Museveni.

Last year, in keeping with our recent history, the volume of trade between us made Uganda one of Kenya’s most vital trading partners, said the leader.

President Kenyatta is today set to deliver a landmark address to Uganda’s parliament.