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The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) on Tuesday signed a 150 million shillings (1.5 million US dollars) financing agreement with Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) to boost cross-border trade and investments.

Senior executives said the funding will support implementation of KEPSA’s five year public-private sector dialogue that aims to improve conditions for local companies to expand operations across the East African region.

“The new grant will boost policy interventions aimed at catalyzing growth of trade and investment opportunities for Kenyan businesses in the region,” said Brenda Mbathi, a board member at KEPSA.

She said that KEPSA is keen to promote dialogue with governments, investors and civil society to address regulatory bottlenecks that have slowed down cross-border trade and investments.

According to Mbathi, KEPSA public private sector dialogue program aims to achieve a 10 percent reduction in the cost of transporting goods across the borders.

The program also involves lobbying for reduced tariffs and enhanced clearance of goods through digitization.

Frank Matsaert, the chief executive officer of Trade Mark East Africa said that Kenya’s private sector has potential to expand tentacles in the region subject to creation of platforms that foster dialogue with governments.

“Building platforms where the private sector is able to voice issues that are pertinent to the business environment is critical. We are glad to partner with KEPSA to make sure that dialogue takes place,” said Matsaert.

Ahmed Farah, TMEA-Kenya Country Director said facilitating local private sector to trade and invest across the borders will boost economic growth and job creation.

“The private-public sector dialogue for trade and investment program that will give a voice to the private sector is aligned with our interest to catalyze a 25 percent annual increase in exports and job creation through improved investment incentives,” said Farah.

Meanwhile, the East African Business Council (EABC) has secured 3 million U.S Dollars from Trade Mark East Africa to support advocacy aimed at reducing barriers to trade.

Peter Mathuki, chief executive officer of EABC said the grant will support harmonization of customs and taxation regimes in order to ease movement of goods and services across the borders. Enditem

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