Ramaphosa calls end to uneven trade between South African and Kenya

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Maja Hitij/Getty Images
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is on a state visit to SA aimed at deepening bilateral trade between the two nations. 
  • Bilateral trade between the two countries is skewed towards South Africa.
  • Kenyatta is set to visit the Aspen Pharmacare facility that manufactures the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines.

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to see a greater balance of trade between South Africa and Kenya, as the two countries pledged to foster improved economic relations.

Speaking at a Business Forum between the two countries during Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta's state visit in Pretoria, Ramaphosa said trade between the two countries was "heavily skewed in favour of South Africa".

"We need to set ambitious targets for increasing imports from Kenya over the next few years," said Ramaphosa.

Kenyatta on Monday began his three-day state visit to South Africa, in what is aimed at deepening economic cooperation and trade. According to Ramaphosa, over 40 South African companies have invested in the Kenya market over the past two decades and South Africa ranks amongst the top five investors in the Kenyan market.

"As South Africa, we are committed to improving the levels of intra-African investments by facilitating Kenyan investments into South Africa and by investing in Kenya’s infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities," he said.

He urged Kenyan companies to reach out to their South African counterparts as part of their market for their goods and services, in what would ensure the production of goods for African markets. 

"We can no longer simply be a supplier of raw materials to the world and importers of consumer and capital goods."

Kenyatta is also expected to visit the Aspen Pharmacare facility that manufactures and distributes the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on migration, which will be a precursor to establishing a visa-free regime for Kenyans travelling to South Africa.

Ramaphosa highlighted that more than 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have now been produced at the Gqeberha facility, and that there was an agreement that the bulk of the production out of the factory would be destined for African countries.

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