Kenyan stakeholders have conducted a national review meeting of its African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation strategy in Naivasha, after incorporating new components with wide ramifications for the economy.
They incorporated topics such as e-commerce, climate change and COVID-19, which had from last year disrupted production and trade flows across the world, to enable the East African country to derive maximum benefits from the agreement.
The stakeholders, including public and private sector operators, civil society organisations, human rights bodies and the academia, with the technical support of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), acted to identify their priority sectors, markets and key interventions to make the document better.
“We still see some outstanding challenges or impacts of COVID-19 such as a significant decline in informal cross border trade, increased transit times along northern and central corridors, and a heightened dependence on commodity exports,” said Judith Ameso, a trade expert with the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), a unit of the ECA.
Trading under the pact commenced on 1st January, after a postponement for six months as a result of the pandemic. Kenya is one of the 36 member-states to have so far ratified the AfCFTA treaty. The agreement provides an opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.
It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction. It will also constitute a significant milestone towards the realization of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for the socio-economic transformation of the continent.
The ECA, through the ATPC, has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states of the AU to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development. The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union to assist with the implementation of the agreement.
Learn More: UNECA