Kenya ratifies African free trade agreement

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Kenya has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and was making arrangements to submit to Africa Union Commission.

The country’s parliament ratified the Agreement and the government is to submit the signed document to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu expressed optimism that the continental trade pact will lead to an accelerated pathway to integration.

He expressed the hope that Africa is better off increasing trade with itself.

“As you know, it was the President’s absolute delight to be in Kigali not too long ago, joining fellow heads of state in signing the AfCFTA.

“The AfCFTA will create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people, goods and services,” Esipisu said.

Rwanda and Ghana have both already ratified the agreement, and now the race is on which country is first to officially submit that ratification.

The instruments are expected to be lodged with the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki as a sign of Kenya’s commitment to the economic integration of all the 54 African states.

 At the moment, Esipisu noted, intra-Africa trade is estimated to be around 12 per cent which is relatively low compared to other regions of the world.

“Intra-European trade is estimated to be around 60 per cent while that of Asia is around 40 per cent.

The establishment of the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra Africa trade to 22 per cent by 2022. All this will provide substantial economic and social gains to Kenya,” he said.

The AfCFTA will lead to the creation of a wider and expanded African market, with a combined population of over 1.2 billion people and a growing middle class, as well as a combined gross domestic product of more than US$ 3.4 trillion.

The African continental population is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050.

Esipisu pointed out that Kenya attaches significant importance to the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the AfCFTA because of the huge market and investment opportunities that they will present to Kenya.

The TFTA brings together member states of COMESA, EAC and SADC. At the moment, Kenya exports to Africa constitute 40 per cent of total exports – the bulk of which are value-added products.

Nigeria has yet to ratify the agreement.