NAIROBI, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday that African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries should be accorded increased access to the European Union market.
Kenyatta who held talks with visiting legislators from ACP-EU said such arrangements like the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) should recognize each country's level of development so that no country feels disadvantaged.
President Kenyatta pointed out that Africa should negotiate as a continent and not as a region but cautioned against actions that undermine integration, according to a statement issued after the meeting in Nairobi.
He noted that the ACP countries were at different levels of development and can only reap maximum benefit from the EPAs if their individual levels of economic development are taken into consideration.
Kenyatta said Kenya is pushing for Africa to forge a more integrated approach that will give the continent a stronger voice in its negotiations with organizations like the EU while at the same time taking cognizance of each country's level of economic development.
He expressed the need to develop a flexible mechanism that would allow member states that are ready to take up EPAs to do so even as others address their individual concerns.
Speaking during discussions on the East Africa Community-European Economic Partnership Agreements in Kampala in February, Kenyatta said member states should take actions that would ensure no member country is affected negatively by actions of the other.
The president called on the summit to agree on a resolution allowing the application of "variable geometry" in the implementation of the EPAs.
The EPAs launched in Brussels in 2002 are aimed at enhancing sustainable growth, increasing production and supply capacities of the ACP countries, promoting structural processing and economic diversification of the ACP states while supporting regional integration.
Experts say Kenya stands to benefit from foreign exchange earnings, employment opportunities and penetration to the European Union market with EPAs.
The Kenyan leader expressed optimism that EPAs between the EU and the ACP group of states have the potential of accelerating economic development but the concerns of individual member countries have also to be addressed.