- The six countries control GDP worth Sh40 trillion with over 200 million people
- Almost a quarter of those affected by the adverse effects of climate change comes from the region.
Horn of Africa (HoA)countries have agreed to support shared infrastructure projects to boost free trade.
Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday at the 15th Roundtable meeting of Finance Ministers, exchequer chiefs from the six countries led by Kenya's Njuguna Ndung'u committed to finalising mutual infrastructure projects in the next five years.
"Trade is a game of numbers. We have close to 200 million people market, dense human resources and plenty of natural resources. It is time we bring this to the continental business table,'' Njuguna said.
Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea agreed to relook at their individual trade agreements and identify areas of collaboration to ease the cost of doing business for their traders while capitalising on gains originating from diverse markets.
The projected Sh40 trillion borderless market has been touted as key in reversing current trends in poverty, inequality and growth on the continent, and helping place Africa on an inclusive and sustainable growth path.
The agreement establishing the AfCFTA was adopted in 2018 and came into force a year later.
At the time, 24 countries had deposited their instruments of ratification.
By May last year, there were 54 signatures of which 43 (80 per cent) had deposited their instruments of ratification.
The Treasury chiefs also reviewed the progress made on the operation and implementation aspects of the HoA Initiative over the last year and discussed measures to enhance regional integration and cooperation by focusing on areas of private sector participation and digital links.
The annual meeting evaluated and reported on progress made in the common pursuit of economic, infrastructure, social and human development, private sector engagement, digital policy and adoption of drought resilience measures.
Furthermore, they exchanged views on the recent situations in the region including the latest climate shocks.
Almost a quarter of those affected by the adverse effects of climate change comes from the region.
HoA operates on key pillars including regional infrastructure connectivity, trade and economic integration, building resilience and strengthening human capital development.
Japan, the UK, and French Development Agency attended the meeting as observers.
The initiative was launched towards the end of 2019 through the support of the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Union to deepen regional integration and deliver better development outcomes in areas of building resilience, infrastructure, trade, and human capital.
During the event, Kenya handed over the chairmanship to Ethiopia.
Ndung'u handed over the to the representative, deputy Head of Mission of the Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya, Ambassador Workalemahu Desta.