Interconnectivity crucial to boosting Kenya, SA small business

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says easing challenges in the transportation of goods between the South Africa and Kenya will maximise economic opportunities for businesses in the two countries.

He was speaking during a visit to a Transnet manufacturing facility in Pretoria with Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, on Wednesday.

The Kenyan president is on an official State Visit to South Africa, which has paved the way for the two countries to deepen ties through the signing of at least eight memoranda affecting different departments including transport.

President Kenyatta bemoaned the challenges faced by small businesses in both countries.

“It should be easy enough for a small or medium enterprise based in Cape Town, Pretoria or Johannesburg to be able to move its products seamlessly to Kenya and vice versa. It should be easy for a company based in Mombasa, Nairobi [or] Kisumu to move goods to markets in Southern Africa,” he said.

President Kenyatta said these challenges can be overcome through collaboration and urged businesses and state owned-companies not to act as competitors but rather “as collaborators and partners”.

“The impediment is how to get those goods there; how to get them there easily in terms of speed and how to get them there at acceptable costs. That cannot happen if we do not deepen our linkages in terms of our air services, our seaways, and our rail and road networks.

“We need this interconnectivity to be able to facilitate and the only way we can do that is by bringing the co-operations that are responsible and charged with that mandate in our respective countries to partner and to start developing these rail, road, sea and air linkages,” he said.

President Kenyatta said his visit to the plant is the concrete realisation of the Memorandum of Agreement on Transport between the two countries.

“We are here…to see how we can deepen [Transnet’s] partnership with Kenya Railways and also with other railways and companies in our part of the world so that we can share technical input, we can share engineering expertise, we can share how to link our respective rails together, how to manage our respective rail systems together. All this in trying to facilitate the movement of goods between our two countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Gordhan highlighted some of Transnet’s capabilities.

“Transnet is quiet a unique state owned entity in the sense that…it has a port division, a port terminal division, an important rail division, a pipeline division that transports fuel from the coast to the inland and the engineering component,” Gordhan said.

Source: South African Government News Agency