African Trade Unions are key to free trade within the continent, says President Kenyatta

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President Uhuru Kenyatta arriving at the OATUU General Meeting held in Nairobi, flanked by COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli. PHOTO/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta arriving at the OATUU General Meeting held in Nairobi, flanked by COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli. PHOTO/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has reminded trade unions in Africa about their obligation in ensuring free trade is a success in Africa. Speaking during the 42nd Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) General Council meeting in Nairobi, President Kenyatta said African labour unions must be at the forefront of advocating for free movement of goods, labour, capital. He said free movement within Africa was a large part of the dream that informed the formation of OATUU in 1973, “I therefore call on the present leadership of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity to help build the bridges of unity and pan Africanism between all the sons and daughters of this blessed continent, especially as we usher in the Africa Continental free trade area under the auspices of the African Union.”

He said the laying of the ground work towards achieving this should start now, noting that the surest path to peace and prosperity is unity and togetherness among African nations. Founded in 1973, OATUU brings together at least 70 affiliate national trade unions from more than 50 African countries as members, with the aim of building trade union unity in Africa, supporting African workers and representing their interests among other functions.

President Kenyatta also urged the labour organizations to prioritize enhancing the competitive advantage of their respective countries, adding that it’s evident a market where industrial relations are cordial, allows the respective nation to foster local businesses and attract foreign investment.