Two delegations of officials from the Ministries of Trade, and other government authorities with trade-related responsibilities of Kenya and South Sudan met in Nairobi on November 23 and 24 with representatives from the HoAI Secretariat and the World Bank. The objective was to validate two draft studies that will guide the preparation of a comprehensive regional programme on trade and investment in the Horn of Africa. This programme is expected to benefit from the financial support of the World Bank and other HoAI Development Partners and will be focused on the implementation of some of the objectives planned under the HoAI Trade Facilitation and PSE roadmaps.
The first study analyses possible approaches for improving the resolution of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the Horn of Africa. Persistent and particularly hard to detect, NTBs in this region often tend to resurface after having been apparently eliminated, which significantly constrains the intra-HoAI trade, currently estimated at 6%, compared to trade with extra-regional economic partners, well below the continental average, which is of about 17-18%. The second study examines the institutional structures and key stakeholders in HoAI countries that inform the design of trade and Investment policies at a national level. It proposes regional public-private coordination mechanisms to ensure that such policies are aligned with each other. This approach aims to optimize the impact of trade reforms so as to achieve higher development objectives in the region.
During the second day, participants took stock of the status of the implementation of the Horn of Africa Initiative Trade Facilitation Roadmap, sharing experiences on the latest developments and key achievements in their respective countries with regard to the reforms recommended in the roadmap. Dr. Kenrick Ayot, HoAI focal point for Kenya of the HoAI, closed the event by reaffirming the commitment of Kenya to advance the regional integration of the Horn, particularly in the area of trade, thanking the South Sudan delegation for their participation and the excellent contribution to the discussions. A similar workshop is planned from 28 to 29 November in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with similar delegations from Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia.