By Staff Reporter

“To fast-track implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the development of an implementation strategy is critical as it leverages deeper integration within the framework of AfCFTA to facilitate an expansion of Kenya’s trade and investment in Africa” says Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, Kenya Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development during the launch of the Kenya AfCFTA Implementation Strategy.

The Strategy identifies priority export products and sectors for goods and services aligned with Kenya’s national development goals and aspirations, including the Integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy (INEDPS) and the Big Four Agenda.

An ad-hoc National AfCFTA Implementation Committee (NIC) comprising Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); Council of Governors; Private Sector Associations; Relevant academic and research institutions and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) has also been established to ensure effective and coordinated implementation of the Strategy.

Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division of ECA, speaking at the launch said, “With this National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy, Kenya is ready to take advantage of the newly available continental market.”

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya, Stephen Jackson, congratulated the Government and the ministry for taking a bold step to actualize AfCFTA and giving an incredible gift to the new Government of Kenya before the elections.

He further noted that Africa’s major development challenge is that it is the most fragmented continent in the world. By creating one African market, Africa is transforming the landscape to create a single, unified market of 1.3 billion people that permits the kinds of massive economies of scale and scope, which will attract largescale and long-term investments, transforming Africa to the benefit of all.

On her part, Katrin Hagemann Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Kenya, highlighted that EU is and has been a strong supporter to this ambitious integration initiative by providing financial and technical assistance to the AfCFTA negotiation processes and implementation.

She further added that the success of the AfCFTA starts in the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Regional integration is not only liberalizing tariffs but starts with a shared belief to achieve a common goal of prosperity for all. Part of this belief must be a common and integrated market meaning competition and a strong drive to produce more efficiently and cheaply.

The launch of the Kenya AfCFTA National Implementation Strategy is one of the key action parts of the EU-funded project: ‘Deepening Africa’s Trade Integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA to support Economic Integration’ with a total budget of € 8 million.

Kenya is one of the seven countries that have been selected to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for intra-African trade.

The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people in an economic bloc with a gross domestic product valued at least $2.5 trillion and usher in a new era of development.

Click here to read more about the Kenya national AfCFTA implementation strategy 2022-2027.