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Gov’t to implement AfCFTA strategy to boost trade

The government will embark on a sensitisation campaign countrywide to create awareness amongst the business community on the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free-Trade (AfCFTA) and how to exploit the openings offered.

Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said Kenya has prepared a national implementation strategy that provides a framework for the implementation of the AfCFTA to facilitate an expansion of the country’s trade and investment in Africa and support structural transformation.

She said the strategy, which is also aimed at fostering economic growth and sustainable development, is envisioned to secure markets for goods and services within the African region, promote value addition and diversification of products in the AfCFTA markets.

“The strategy has mechanisms for creating conditions for increased participation of micro small and medium-sized enterprises, women, youth and persons with disabilities in trade and investment in the region, “said Ms Maina.

She added the country is establishing a favourable business environment to attract new domestic and foreign investment, equipping micro and small enterprises to enable them expand and improve their productivity, besides developing a mass of medium and large enterprises that can compete at the regional level.

The CS made the remarks on Tuesday in a speech read on her behalf by the Director of International Trade in the State Department of Trade and Enterprise Development Mr. Oliver Konje during the Private Sector Sensitisation Workshop on Kenya’s National African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation Strategy held at a Nairobi hotel.

The workshop aims at providing stakeholders in Kenya with knowledge to understand and appreciate the benefits of implementing AfCFTA Kenya’s National Strategy as presented by AfCFTA in order to achieve stakeholder consensus on approaches and roles they play for the country’s implementation of AfCFTA.

She said the launching of the trade under the AfCFTA Agreement on January 1 last year with 1.2 billion people across 55 countries and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 2.5 trillion and a combined consumer and business spending of more than US$4.0 trillion, provides African countries including Kenya with readily available marker for both goods and services, making it the largest free trade area globally.

“AfCTA can elevate over 30 million people out of extreme poverty while boosting the incomes of nearly 68 million others who live on less than five dollars,” said Ms. Maina.

She observed that by 2035 the continental trade pact will enhance Africa’s income by USD 450 billion while increasing Africa’s exports of goods and services by USD 560 billion.

Ms Maina noted that coordinated approaches in intra-regional trade will help Africa to remain resilient in challenging times, as well as ensure that vulnerable countries are cushioned from future disruptions.

The CS urged those handling the implementation strategy to speed up the conclusion of outstanding matters being negotiated to allow the private sector take advantage of the opportunities.

“Kenya will continue to play its role in the negotiations and continue to carry along the voices of the private sector in the negotiations and in the implementation of the AfCFTA,” said the CS.

She thanked the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other agencies for supporting the implementation process.

In her remarks, the Director of the Sub Regional Office for East Africa based in Kigali, Dr Mama Keita urged the Kenyan business community to take advantage of the opportunities available at the AfCFTA.

“The government of Kenya has provided AfCFTA with its strategy for implementation, we want to familiarise the private sector with the strategy for better productivity,” said Dr Mama.

She said AfCFTA will help Kenya to boost its opportunities for industrialisation, agriculture, fisheries, livestock, mining, oil and gas as well as create job opportunities.

AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 of the African Union to accelerate intra -African Trade and to boost Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in the global trade negotiations.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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