Posted February 18, 2021 9:18 am by

Under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), for the first time, the much-awaited intra-African trade is becoming a reality.

Africa is one of the leading and much courted markets globally.

The successful operationalisation of the agreement will create a single continental market for goods and services, including the free movement of persons and investments.

Trading under AfCFTA provides the continent with a rare opportunity to drive the African agenda for a more unified and self-reliant economic bloc.

The agreement is a good foresight that will inject competitiveness, ease of doing business, increase market size and access that remain the top most investment determinants and resultant mutually beneficial job creation to all member states’ economies.

It is worthwhile to note that globally, AfCTFA is the largest Free Trade Area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries.

Currently, Africa trades with herself marginally at an estimated range estimated of 13 per cent to 15 per cent in comparison to other trading blocs such as the European Union whose level of intra-EU trade is almost 70 per cent.

Commendably, Kenya is the first African Union (AU) member state to ratify the AfCFTA agreement out of the 29 countries that have ratified so far.

The exemplary lead Kenya has accorded the Free Trade Area underscores the country’s commitment to its successful implementation.

Additionally, out of the 55 AU member states, 54 have already signed.

Under AfCTA, it is about time the African governments to turn the tide of the international trade by making the unified continental trade agreement as source of exported goods through value addition rather than a disadvantage market for foreign exports.

Kenya being a regional economic hub, this level of high market integration supported by a 1.3 billion population places the country at a vantage point to take advantage of the new opportunities particularly on the export market of goods and services.

With increasing level of globalisation and ever growing inter-regional trade cooperation within and across continents, a more coordinated implementation strategy amongst AfCFTA member states is critical for successful operationalisation of the agreement.

And to maximise the benefits from the agreement, the quality and competitiveness of the export market products and services should be continuously improved to match the global standards particularly with regard to the four delivery pillars on manufacturing, affordable housing, Universal Health Coverage and food security.

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