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We are capable of hosting Secretariat, Amb. Juma

A  high  powered  delegation  from the  African Union (AU) is in the country to evaluate Kenya’s bid to host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

The  team  flew into the Country  this week to do the assessment after Kenya expressed interest through the African Union  Secretariat to host the Secretariat

The  special  committee has  been  briefed  by an intergovernmental team about Kenya’s ability to host the secretariat because of its numerous and superior offerings compared with the facilities in other countries that also bid to host the  secretariat which are Eswatini(Swaziland), Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Botswana, Egypt and Senegal.

The  Ministry of  Foreign Affairs Cabinet  Secretary, Amb. Monica  Juma highlighted that having the secretariat hosted in  Kenya  would not only cement Kenya’s role as a lead country in trade and multilateralism , but also avail Africa the best venue and the best opportunity to grow free trade and secretariat to its full potential not only for Kenya but for  the benefit for all Africa.

According  to Juma, Kenya’s Africacentric foreign policy buttressed by concrete action is focused on delivering on the promise of its continental growth development and security, Agenda 2063.

“Kenya  was  among  the  first  countries  to  sign  and ratify the instrument establishing the AfCFTA. This is our driving force,” said Juma.

Speaking  at  the Foreign  Affairs conference held on Thursday in Nairobi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary,  Amb. Macharia Kamau said that Kenya has standard facilities, including  airports, roads connectivity, mobile infrastructure, soft  skill infrastructure that is; the young people and generally its strategic location that makes it  meet the requirements of AU.

“Kenya  is  strategically located  as  a gateway  to the East and Central  Africa region and it is situated right along the  equator and enjoys a favourable international profile,” Macharia noted.

He added that Kenya’s media is among the best in African countries, therefore it will be easier to ensure that coverage of the discussion is done.

“One of the key selling points that we have is capabilities and abilities of our free press media that can be live all
through,” he said.

Macharia  further added that United Nations requires the countries that bid to host the secretariat to avail buildings that  will be used during the event, which Kenya already has.

Now Kenya is waiting for the response from AU committee that will be out within three to four months to confirm whether  her proposal was accepted.

AfCFTA  is  a  treaty  that was signed by 49 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018.

Its  main  objective  is  to create  a  tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, stir up  industrialisation  and create  jobs and  thus pave the way for acceleration of the establishment of the continental customs’ Union, common market and monetary union.

By  Dourice  Abuto/Alice Gworo

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