East African trade bloc to be the first target of U.S. Africa Trade Initiative

July 2, 2013 7:23 am0 comments by:

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new initiative called Africa Trade aimed at increasing trade within Africa and between Africa and US.

The initiative will initially focus on an East African trade bloc that has a combined population of 130 million people and would later be expanded to other African countries.

Addressing a group of about 170 business leaders, President Obama said the initial phase aims at doubling intra-regional trade in East Africa Community (EAC) nations of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and to increase exports to the US by 40 per cent.

He explained the initiative will help reduce by 15 per cent the average time needed to import or export a container from ports of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam to land locked countries.

“ln a decade, EAC’s regional economy growth has quadrupled, poverty is reducing, more Africans are in middle class and more are spending, US wants to be part in that process,” President Obama said.

Obama has sought to use the trip to Africa to emphasize the change on how Washington engage with Africa. Throughout his three-country trip, Obama has touted a new model for U.S. partnership with Africa, one based not just on aid and assistance, but also on trade.

The U.S. President has also expressed his government’s plans to invest in energy, infrastructure, water and agriculture sectors in Africa and boost regional trade in Africa

 

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