Kenya, Tunisia renew economic ties

The partnership agreements will see Kenya avail its industrial parks and economic zones to Tunisia for business activities

At the inaugural Kenya-Tunisia business forum which held yesterday, both countries revived previously strained economic relations agreeing to promote development and trade linkages.

The collaboration follows Tunisian ambassador Hatem Landoulsi’s visit to Kenya three months ago.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chief executive, Kiprono Kittony, says the countries are now set to renew co-operation following Tunisia’s establishment of a council for engagement.

“There are no strong trading relationships between Tunisia and Kenya.

This calls for a need to review our relations for the benefits of both economies,” Kittony says.

The forum saw a delegation of 50 Tunisian business entities led by Tunisian Trade Minister, Omar El Bahi as well as a hundred Kenyan business operators across sectors, in attendance.

Partnership agreements signed between Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) will see Kenya avail its industrial parks and economic zones to Tunisia for business activities – effective from the signed date.

In return, Kenya will position itself to grow trade volumes as it forms a gateway to the European market with a population of 400 million.

Infrastructure and logistics constraints remain the biggest barrier.

“If this is made possible, then we can have the country export goods to EU tariff free,” KEPSA Chief executive, Carole Kariuki says.

The countries have also begun negotiations around air services.

“A bilateral air services agreement between the two countries is at an advanced stage of negotiation, providing an opportunity for ease of travel and exports between the two countries,” Betty Maina, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, says.

In July 2018, Tunisia became a member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) after it was ruled to meet the admission requirements.

Tunisia has a competitive advantage in construction and public works, electrical materials, food industry, pharmaceuticals and green economy and technologies.

As the countries foster relations, Kenya is looking to grow business in sectors and sub-sectors including tourism, maritime and fish processing, textiles, leather, agro-processing, oil, mining and gas, iron and steel. Currently, the average balance of trade is in Tunisia’s favour. In 2017, exports to Tunisia were Sh29.27 million with imports valued at Sh63.47 million.


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