Blueprint aims at deepening relations with other African countries
By Bernadette Khaduli
Kenya has launched the National African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation Strategy 2022-2027 to boost opportunities for industrial diversification, investment and job creation.
The strategy also aims at deepening relations with other countries on the continent which has a population of over 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of over $3.4 trillion.
Speaking during the launch of the Strategy and unveiling of AfCFTA National Implementation Committee held at a Nairobi hotel on 5th August, the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Betty Maina said AfCFTA will help expand the country’s trade into untapped African markets.
The CS said the strategy will leverage deeper integration within the framework of AfCFTA to expand Kenya’s trade and investment in Africa, support structural transformation and foster economic growth and sustainable development.
Ms Maina said being among the pilot countries in the AfCFTA initiative on guided trade, Kenya has already established an ad hoc committee that will be in charge of coordinating the initiative, identifying the export products and facilitating product market access.
She encouraged private sector among them Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to work with the ministry to ensure that the country makes meaningful gains from trading in products that Kenya has a competitive edge.
“The government is determined to develop decisive policy actions to enhance economic diversification, unleash the private sector’s potential and address the existing challenges in order to unlock the benefits of the AfCFTA,” said Ms. Maina.
The CS noted that African countries need to address the infrastructure gap to facilitate the efficient and affordable movement of goods and services across borders.
She said it is expected that the Program for the Infrastructural Development of Africa (PIDA) under the African Union will aid the attainment of AfCTA goals by facilitating the movements of goods, services, people and capital across the continent, as well as support the development of regional value chains.
Ms. Maina said the Implementation strategy seeks to increase gross domestic product, production and consumption of locally produced goods and services, grow the size and scope of the manufacturing and other value added exports. It will also develop and strengthen regional value chains, boost Kenyan exports to Africa outside the East Africa Community and COMESA.
She said strategy has identified agriculture, livestock, fisheries, mining, oil and gas, handicraft, business, tourism, education, health, financial, ICT, cultural and sports services and transport and logistics as priority sectors for competitiveness under AfCFTA.
“These priorities are aligned with Kenya’s national development goals and aspirations, the Integrated National Export Development and promotion Strategy and the Big Four Agenda,” added Ms. Maina.
The Director, regional Integration and Trade Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr. Stephen Karingi, said UNECA has partnered with Kenya to implement measures that will foster increased and efficient trade amongst African countries under the AfCFTA and negotiations in trade in goods and trade in services.
“With this National Strategy, Kenya is ready to take advantage of the newly available continental market. Already Africa is Kenya’s main market, leading by approximately 42 per cent of its share of exports in 2020, surpassing the traditional European and Asian markets in previous decades,” said Dr. Karingi. (KNA)
source : https://www.mygov.go.ke/