Kenya has embarked on a series of workshops to validate the implementation strategy for the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement that came into force in January 2021.
The workshop was officiated by Trade and Industry CAS David Osiany.
Osiany said on Monday that the AfCFTA strategy incorporates private and public sector stakeholders with an aim to facilitate expansion of Kenya’s trade and investment in Africa.
“I specially request the technical team to ensure they mainstream Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the strategy and anchor it as a key driver of trade in Kenya and EAC. MSMEs should be equipped with the right information resources to enable them benefit from AfCFTA,” Osiany said.
“The AfCFTA creates a large single market with a population of over 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of about $3.4 trillion. In 2018 Kenyan exports accounted for 38 per cent to the African market while imports constituted 11.6 per cent,” Osiany added.
Kenya joins Ghana and South Africa, which have already begun to domestic the free trade agreement.
It began developing its National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy in November 2019, subjecting the draft to public participation.
The East African country stands to benefit immensely from the implementation of AfCFTA. 36 have signed and ratified the deal.
The Trade ministry says the AfCFTA implementation strategy seeks to boost Kenyan exports to the rest of Africa outside EAC and the COMESA Free Trade Agreement. It will also reinforce the Big Four agenda and Kenya’s Industrial Transformation Agenda, and set African nations on a recovery post-Covid-19 path.
“Intra-African trade is crucial for development, economic growth, integration and increased competitiveness of Africa’s industrial products thus boosting employment opportunities in the public & private sectors leading to poverty reduction.,” Osiany added.
In early February, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the success of the continental trade deal would assist Africa overcome some of its pressing economic challenges.
President Kenyatta reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to AfCFTA and rallied other African states to work closely with the agency’s Secretariat to ensure the continental trade arrangement succeeds.
He spoke on Wednesday, February 3, when he met AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene who paid him a courtesy call at State Lodge Sagana.
Beyond its economic importance, President Kenyatta pointed out that AfCFTA has the potential to accelerate continental integration efforts by promoting people-to-people interactions through trade.