ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Ethiopia and Kenya on Friday agreed to establish a free trade zone and enhance infrastructural development.
This comes at the opening of a two-day trade and investment forum which gathered nearly 500 business leaders, investors and officials from both countries.
The main purpose of the forum is to explore ways and means of strengthening the existing trade and economic relations.
In his keynote address to the gathering, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that over the past years his country had taken significant steps in enhancing bilateral relations in the fields of cross-border trade, infrastructure and energy development.
"We plan to transform the Moyle region [border region] to a commonly administered economic hub of East Africa," he said.
The completion of the Lamu transport corridor, which connects Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia would be vital economic progress, Ahmed noted.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said that his country would agree to the establish a Moyale-free trade zone which would benefit both counties.
Kenyatta added that business leaders from both countries must work together for mutually beneficial cooperation.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Peter Makaya said that in order to harness the investment potential of both countries the business climate must change.
"We urge our leaders that tariff barriers must be removed and policies must be in place to facilitate the movement of goods," he said.
The trade volume between the two countries stands at $8 million.