While attending the Future Investment Initiative financial forum in Riyadh Saudi Arabia on Wednesday President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Middle Eastern countries to invest in Kenya and Africa’s expanding economy.
President Kenyatta highlighted that the trade volumes between Middle East and Kenya are way below the level that was recorded when traders from the Middle East used dhows to traverse the Indian Ocean and trade in East Africa during the colonial era.
“Here we are in the age of airplanes and ships and the trade between the East African coast and the gulf is not even a quarter of what it used to be. We are natural partners and we need to renew our partnership,” said the President when he spoke at the conference being held at the King Abdulaziz Conference Centre in Riyadh.
President Kenyatta similarly urged Middle East investors not to be deterred by negative media stories that try to depict Africa in negative light while ignoring the growth and prosperity of the continent.
“Africa is a land that is transforming. Africa is a land that is seeking to get out of poverty and corruption,” said President Kenyatta said as he urged the people of the two regions to partner in development.
President Kenyatta consequently insisted that the integration of the African continent, through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), has created a massive trading block of more than a billion people which offers a lucrative environment for business ventures that are designed to create mutual benefits for the investors as well as the host nations.
The Commander-in-Chief also reiterated that the integration of the region has already seen the cost of telephony go down, increased the volume of trade, eased the movement of goods and helped boost food security among other positives.
“Africa wants to be a friend to all. Our enemies are those who see the negatives alone,” President Kenyatta concluded.