IOE and IT Africa office to support growth of Kenyan and intra-African trade, says trade chief

Wed 12 Jul 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
IOE News

African continent with trade flows shown

The Institute of Export & International Trade Africa (IOE&IT Africa) new office has the potential to help enhance UK-Kenyan trade and boost commerce across the continent more generally, according to director general Marco Forgione.

Based in Narobi, Kenya, the new facility builds on the successful delivery of local educational courses, with IOE&IT Africa staff delivering qualifications in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

Speaking at a welcome reception for the new office, featuring Kenyan business leaders, local students attending IOE&IT Africa courses as well as UK diplomatic officials, Forgione said the opening of the office was “hugely important” for IOE&IT’s mission to encourage and support international trade.

“There is no more compelling reason for us to encourage and support international trade than the fact that through international trade, we will address some of the largest challenges humanity faces whether that's around education health or environmental protection.

“It is by reaching out – nation-to nation, business-to-business, community-to-community, person to person – that we build those strong immutable links and the trade that helps society grow.”

Cost of living

The benefits of supporting trade won’t just be limited to the trade in Kenya, according to Forgione.

“Some of the issues that Kenya faces are actually global issues,” he told the BBC when asked about why IOE&IT was working to promote African trade in this way.

“The cost of living isn't just affecting Kenya, it's affecting everywhere. Anything that can be done to help speed trade and to reduce the costs, such as the work we're doing with the digital trade corridor, will help address some of those issues.”

He said that digital corridor – which will soon feature exports from Kenya to the UK of tea, cut flowers and coffee – was “a huge opportunity to increase both the production and also the processing capabilities in Kenya”, both in terms of intra-African trade and Kenya’s trade with the rest of the world.

More support

He called for more support for businesses, both in Kenya and globally, to help private enterprise tackle the issues of global inflation:

“We have to see there being investment to support businesses, because the only way we can grow the economy –not just in Kenya but anywhere – is by getting businesses doing business.”

Trade ‘force for good’

Speaking at the same event, Terry Scuoler, chairman of IOE&IT, said that “much has been said about international trade, and much will continue to be said about it”, but that it remained “a hugely positive good” for the world, as long as it was mutually beneficially to all parties involved.

“There are obstacles to that is we know around the world. Our aim is to work collectively to try and remove these barriers, and to work towards as much frictionless trade as free as possible.”

“Free, frictionless trade, if properly managed, is mutually beneficial is an enormous force for good.”