Marsabit County Shares an international border with Ethiopia stretching over 500 km from Moyale to the East and all the way to Illeret at the top of Lake Turkana on the West. For centuries, communities living along the border of the two countries have interacted and developed a close cultural, social and economic ties. It’s in recognition of this deep-rooted ties that Marsabit County organized a first trade mission to Ethiopia with duo aim of: a) studying Ethiopia’s well developed and fully exploited Livestock Value Chain with focus on abattoirs and export of both live animals and semi-processed products. b) Exploring the trade and investment opportunities available between the two countries and secure cross border trade partnerships for mutual benefits of all communities.c) Benchmarking a well- established administration system of regional governments in Ethiopia, and implement policies and strategies that will positively impact on the County’s growth and development.
The mission entailed high level delegation of 14 members that included H.E. Governor Ukur Yatani, Hon Roba Duba, MP Moyale, Hon Chachu Ganya, MP North Horr, Hon Ano Mado Azuba MCA, Hon Cecilia Sube MCA, Mr. Laban Onditi, Vice Chair of KNCCI, senior county officials and KNCCI officials at the County level.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCCI) and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) in collaboration with Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya, coordinated the first trade mission of Marsabit County with success.
On the first day, the County Delegation led by H.E Governor Ukur Yatani Kanacho met with the State Minister Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos. Ambassador Berhane stressed that the Government of Ethiopia has recognize the significance of its relations with Kenya and is committed to enhance trade in the region and to the proper use of resources in line with the Special Status Agreement signed between the two countries in November 2012. The leaders discussed possible partnerships to promote peace and stability along the porous border as well as opening a one-stop custom clearing in Moyale to promote smooth trade and investments between Kenya and Ethiopia. The leaders believed that the completion of the of Gibe Dam and Vision 2030 LAPSET infrastructure project ,which are in the pipeline would alleviate power shortages and facilitate free movement of people and goods along the border areas and in the region as a whole. H.E Amb. Yatani, pointed out that the County has close historical relations with south-eastern Ethiopia. Indeed, he said, it shared natural resources, nationalities, culture, languages and customs with that part of Ethiopia. He stressed that His County Government was prepared to work closely together with the Ethiopian administration on their common opportunities, interests and benefit, and in tackling the challenges faced on both sides of the border.
The delegation also met with H.E Muktar Kedir, the President of Oromia State which shares the largest portion of the border with Marsabit and with Moyale as the focal point. H.E Muktar was very enthusiastic to meet the delegates. He said the Marsabit visit was auspicious and he welcomed the initiative by the County to work closely with his administration. He recognized the deep rooted ties between the communities and that he was ready to provide all necessary support to revive the trade and enhance peaceful co-existence between communities along the border region. He emphasized that the two governments should embrace consultations through regular visits to achieve mutually beneficial relationships.
The county delegation later visited Modjo Modern Export Abattoir located 70 kms from Addis Ababa, that export goat and sheep products to Middle East and North Africa among others. Through the visit, the delegation learnt that some of the animals in the abattoir are from Marsabit County. Thus, the County plans to secure trade agreement with the Modjo that will enable traders sell directly to it, hence eliminating brokers who exploit Marsabit traders.
On Leather sector, the delegation had a lot to learn from Ethiopia being the world leader in leather processing. Ethio Leather factory (Tannery), which produce tens of thousands of leather products for both export and domestic use was visited for benchmarking. It was learnt that imposition of high tax on export of hides and skins has enabled growth of tanneries with readily available raw materials. The delegates also learnt that the tannery produces finished leather products that they export to Israel and European Countries.
At a back to back meeting with Ethiopian business representatives, organized by Addis Chamber, Mr. Laban Onditi of KNCCI underscored unlimited business opportunities available in Marsabit County and Kenya at large..
Through the trade mission, the delegation was able to achieve its set objectives that were to understand opportunities in Trade, Livestock, Infrastructure connectivity` and Investment promotion