Kenya signs partnership to speed up intra-Africa trade
Kenya has signed an agreement with her three other counterparts to hasten the stalled talks on boosting intra-Africa trade.
On 27 August 2016 Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr Amina Mohamed led her counterparts of South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt to pen down the agreement that should see ‘tangible’ progress before the October 2017 deadline. These are Dr Rob Davis (South Africa), Dr Okechukwu Enelamah (Nigeria) and Amb Amgad Ghaffar (Egypt).
The four leaders took advantage of the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) to address the stalled talks on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that was President Uhuru Kenyatta’s proposal during the African Union summit held earlier in Kigali, Rwanda.
Establishment of the CFTA is meant to boost intra-Africa trade (which is currently very low at 12 per cent) by bringing together 54 nations with a Gross Domestic Product of Sh250 trillion (USD 2.5 trillion).
“The four countries represent the four economic blocks. Also, they are the most active countries in the discussions on CFTA hence the importance of them spearheading the talks,” said Amb Nelson Ndirangu Director Economic Affairs at Foreign Affairs ministry who noted that the talks have so far covered just ‘basic grounds.’
According to a joint communique of from the four leaders, four areas identified for corporation are investment policies, laws and regulations, ease of doing business, infrastructure development, industrial development, manufacturing(textiles, clothing and automobile), agriculture, and digital economy.
“We (the ministers) have noted of the worrying and uncertain global economic situation, acutely conscious of complex trade development challenges facing African economies... in particular the slow pace of the CFTA negotiations,” read the communique.
It added: “Following our meeting with Chief negotiators on August 25, we note that we have made significant progress both on the areas of corporation and institutional framework for our Quadrilateral Group’s efforts.”
The ministers pledged to consolidate their efforts in line with the World Trade Organization and Post Africa Growth and Opportunity Act(AGOA) in moving forward pragmatically with regard to corporation in addressing specific challenges facing Africa’s economic growth and development.
“This will encompass flexibility and mutual interest,” read the communique. The ministers further called on the G20 Summit to be held in China in September to decide on specific measures that will deliver on trade and development dividends: “... to restore high quality and sustained growth to the global economy.”