Nairobi Chapter

Clearance given for G-77 South Bank

NAIROBI Nov 4 -- A greenlight has been given by the chambers of commerce and industry of G-77 (G-77CCI) for studying the establishment of the opening of the proposed Group of 77 (G-77) South Bank to support South-South trade.

The idea to open the bank was conceived during a G-77 Chamber of Commerce and Industry (G77CCI) conference in Lahore, Pakistan, last year.

Tariq Sayeed, the G-77CCI President said during a recent visit here, that at least $3.378 million will be required from each member country to meet the bank's one-billion dollar paid-up capital.

The G77CCI, formed in 1986, acts as platform for promoting economic and technical cooperation among its 132 member countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

M'Mukindia, who has pledged his government's ''unwavering'' support, said Kenya's nomination as the host country is a sign of confidence in the economic liberalisation measures implemented by the Kenyan government.

''Kenya has recently liberalised its economy and removed the stringent rules which were cumbersome to investors, such as the repatriation of dividends,'' he said during a G77 Chambers meeting here.

''Kenya is a gateway to East Africa and the bigger COMESA region, and businessmen in this region welcome this move,'' M'Mukindia said. COMESA is the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, a region with a population of more than 300 million people. More than 20 African countries belong to the grouping.

The chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kenya, Kassim Owango, said the G-77 bank will assist businessmen in developing countries to overcome the challenges in the international business arena.

''It will also inspire Kenyan enterprises to effectively contribute to the overall development of trade in the region,'' he said.

Owango said there is great potential for a commercial exchange of goods and services between businessmen in the G-77 member countries.

So far, the officials of the proposed bank have been holding talks with World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Similar talks are also expected with the Islamic Development Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines, to solicit views on the bank venture.

The objectives of the bank will be to provide financial assistance and promote economic development of the G77 member states, individually or jointly.

It will also provide consulting, promotion, and other services to chambers or institutions of the G-77 member states, including technical assistance as may be needed in G77 member states for the study, preparation, financing and execution of development projects and trade financing.

To speed up the bank's opening, Sayeed has urged members to lobby for political support from their respective governments.

He has also appealed to the Kenyan government to exempt the bank from taxation. ''Tax exemption will provide an incentive for faster growth and development of trade and attract increased investment to the bank,'' he said.