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