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Kenya freshen ties with Tunisia

Kenya and Tunisia have revived their economic relations that have been sluggish over years.

In a Kenya-Tunisia Business Forum held yesterday, the two countries agreed to promote their economic development and trade linkages including public relations, information sharing and organizations of trade meetings and fairs.

The collaboration comes after country received Tunisia’s ambassador Hatem Landoulsi three months ago. Tunisia opened its embassy in the country in 2017 to cement economic and political ties.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chief executive Kiprono Kittony said the countries are now set to renew their co-operation after Tunisia established a council for engagement.

“There are no strong trading relationships between Tunisia and Kenya. This calls for need to review our relations for the benefits of both economies,” Kittony said.

The forum saw a visit of 40 business companies from Tunisia.  

in the event, Kenya availed its industrial parks and special economic zones to the country for business activities, following partnership agreements signed between Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) effective from the signed date.

In return, Kenya will take harness on the northern country to grow trade volumes as it forms a gateway to the European market with a population of 400 million.

However, according to KEPSA chief executive Carole Kariuki infrastructure and logistics remain the biggest barrier.

“If this is made possible, then we can have the country export goods to EU tariff free,” Kariuki said.

The countries have begun negotiations around Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) to allow direct flights.

KNCCI also inked a deal with Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CCI Sousse.

In the efforts to foster the engagement, PS Maina announced that the governments will send a delegation to Tunisia in April led by Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma.

Kenya also confirmed to attend the African economic forum to be held on September 3-4 in Tunisia.

In July 2018, Tunisia became a member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) after the northern Africa nation was ruled to meet the admission requirements.

Tunisia has a comparative advantage in construction and public works, electrical materials, food industry, pharmaceuticals and green economy and technologies.

As the countries foster relations, Kenya is looking to grow business in sectors and sub-sectors including tourism, maritime and fish processing, textiles, leather, agro-processing, oil, mining and gas, iron and steel.

Currently, the average balance of trade is in Tunisia’s favour. In 2017, exports to Tunisia were Sh29.27 million and while imports were valued at Sh63.47 million.