East African countries have been asked to focus on ending chronic food insecurity and improving manufacturing.This was said yesterday at the start of a two-day forum of the East African Private Sector Forum on Opportunities organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Mombasa.Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda are currently grappling with locusts that threaten food security in the region. On Tuesday, the government warned that the country risked being plunged into a serious food shortage due to the invasion.During the forum in Mombasa, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia said the private sector and governments must work closely to ensure food safety in the region.He said integrating agricultural markets, improving agricultural productivity, addressing food insecurity and increasing manufacturing sector are key for the region.Kenyan investors should take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to transform the country into a competitive export-led economy, Ngatia said.“AfCFTA provides an opportunity for Kenya to transform her economy into a competitive export-led economy and a thriving domestic market by increasing production and consumption of locally produced goods and services and a key driver of job creation and support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrench regional integration in Africa,” he said.The agreement provided the best opportunity for Africa to expand trade beyond regional borders and lead to opening up of cross-border trade, ease trade procedures and standards as well as facilitate trade for faster movement of goods and services.“We expect the private sector and Africa governments shall work together to eliminate both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in this commitment by the African Union member states to embrace a programme for boosting intra-Africa trade,” he added.