AU lauds Kenya's regional trade, peace efforts in Africa
NAIROBI, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Visiting African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat on Thursday lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta's support for the continental body's agenda of integration, trade, peace, security and stability.
Mahamat who held talks with Kenyatta in Nairobi also praised the Kenyan leader for showing commitment to the financial and institutional reforms of the African Union.
"We appreciate your support for the Single African Air Transport Market and the African Continental Free Trade Area, among other AU initiatives," Mahamat said, according to a statement issued by Kenyatta's office after the meeting in Nairobi.
The AUC chairman also commended Kenyatta for demonstrating great responsibility and leadership in last elections in Kenya that proved to the world that political competition need not be a source of disunity and instability.
"We commend the sacrifice Kenya has continued to make in support of Somalia and South Sudan in terms of human and capital investment," Mahamat said.
President Kenyatta affirmed his support for the continental integration agenda, saying Kenya is set to submit its papers for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) that he signed last month in Kigali, Rwanda, with other African leaders.
Some 44 African countries signed the agreement to establish the pan-African trade bloc during the Tenth Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Rwanda in March.
According to the African Union, AfCFTA aims to establish a single liberalized market that will spur industrialization, infrastructural development, economic diversification and trade across the continent that is home to some 1.2 billion people.
Kenyatta said even as the continent moves towards closer integration that will allow for free movement of people and goods, it should not shut out its traditional trade and development partners especially the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
"Even as we move to strengthen intra-Africa trade, we should not do this at the expense of our African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partnership," the Kenyan leader said.
"There is a growing feeling that Africa is trying to pull out from the ACP partnership," the president added.