How Kenya Can Benefit From the African Continental Free Trade Area Initiative (AfCFTA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an ambitious initiative that aims to create a single and distinct free continental market for goods and services in order to enhance inter-African trade. The agreement signed by 54 African Nations and ratified by 33 others, encompasses several strategies that would enhance trade integration. These include the free movement of people and capital across borders, removal of trade barriers as well as tariffs.

According to the World Bank Organization, the AfCFTA will boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035, increase employment opportunities and wages as well as significantly reduce the number of Africans living in extreme poverty.

The initiative’s full implementation was bogged down by the pandemic and is set to kick off this year in several regions. Kenya as the third largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa can immensely benefit from these trade agreement considering its economic and geographic position in the continent.

Kenya boasts of having the continent’s most developed roads, railways and communication networks. It borders five countries which presents a sizeable market for the goods and services produced in the country and is unarguably a major winner in the proposed trade integration.

President Uhuru is credited with the initiation of several regional development projects such as the LAPSSET Corridor Program which would bring together Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. He has promoted very good relations with Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan which could in the long run promote economic integration with these countries.

The Kenyan government can therefore find a new alternative to economic growth and cease its borrowing spree which many experts believe is unsustainable and detrimental to the country’s economy. The AfCFTA agreement is very promising in all ways and the Treasury should strongly focus on it instead of raising debt ceilings every few years to burden Kenyans even more.

By: Faysal Hussein

Nairobi-based journalist and writer covering domestic and regional politics, players and policies. Focusing on the bigger picture in a modern contemporary world.

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