Kenyan Investors Urged to Take Full Advantage of Regional Integration to grow Business

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA 17th July (MFA PRESS)- Foreign Affairs CAS Hon. Ababu Namwamba has urged Kenyan Companies to take advantage of opportunities presented by regional integration and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Afrocentric foreign policy to expand their interests beyond Kenya’s boarders. The CAS said this when he toured the Kenyan-owned Pembe Millers complex in Lusaka, Zambia. CAS Ababu is leading Kenya’s delegation to the 38th session of the Policy Organs of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) that includes meetings of the Council of Ministers and Summit of Heads of State and Government.

“Am very impressed by the massive investment of Pembe Flour Mills (Z) Ltd here. Pembe has put in billions of shillings to become the market leader and a highly respected premium brand in Zambia and across the region. The company has employed at least 750 permanent staff that includes both Kenyan and Zambian nationals. This is the epitome of cross-boarder investment taking full advantage of regional integration”, Hon Ababu said after being taken on a tour of the company complex along Mungwi road in Lusaka by Managing Director Mohamed S.A. Taib.

Mr. Taib attributed Pembe’s success to the high quality of their products that includes maize flour, wheat flour, soya milk and animal feeds and excellent services which have propelled their rapid expansion to multiple locations in the region, with plants across Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda. The CAS was accompanied by Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia Amb. Sophie Kombe and senior officers from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Department of Trade.

Hon Ababu highlighted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Afrocentric foreign policy that has seen increased focus on regional integration and encouraging of intra-Africa trade. “His Excellency the President is leading from the front as Kenya’s Diplomat No. 1 in pushing for rapid integration and increased intra-Africa trade”, Ababu said, and cited the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). “Its no coincidence that Kenya was the first country in Africa to sign, ratify and lodge with the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa instruments of the ACFTA treaty. The ACFTA is creating a trade block of 1.2 billion people, bigger than the European Union, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2 trillion USD. The potential is huge with largely untapped markets. Kenyans must take full advantage of these opportunities”, Ababu added.

The CAS further applauded Pembe Millers for helping to advance President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 agenda beyond Kenya’s boarders. “Big 4 is about growing and sharing prosperity for all our peoples. Pembe is spreading manufacturing wings across the region and helping to expand our national economic muscle while creating employment and growing prosperity for us and our good neighbours”, he said. Pembe Flour Millers started operation in Kenya in 1989 and ventured into the Zambian market in 2012 where they are into flour milling and animal feeds. They have recently opened a cooking oil refinery too.

Hon Ababu who is accompanied to Zambia by Trade PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo also represented Foreign Affairs CS Amb. Monica Juma at the 16th meeting of COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs and is scheduled to attend the 20th COMESA Summit on tomorrow.

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