Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has urged the government to put in place measures that will enable the country to enjoy full benefits from Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Speaking during the launch of KAM’s study findings on the implications of AfCFTA on Kenyan products, the association’s acting Chief Executive Officer Tobias Alando noted that even though the agreement offers the best opportunity for the country’s business goals, the lack of proper mechanisms to achieve this remains a major hindrance block.
“Kenya’s export market in Africa is expected to increase with the full implementation of AfCFTA. However, if unaddressed, challenges such as dwindling country competitiveness, lack of product competitiveness, and supply chain constraints shall hinder local manufacturers from reaping the benefits that come with AfCFTA,” he stated.
He urged the business community in Kenya to develop export strategies for various trade agreements including East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and AfCFTA as well as implementing business development programs to enable the community to penetrate and expand to new markets in the region.
“At the national level, we urge the government to prioritize the conclusion of pending areas in the negotiations, work on competitiveness drivers to ensure Kenya takes advantage of the African market and fully implement the National AfCFTA strategy,” added Alando.
Kenya Revenue Authority on its part noted that they have put in place measures to make the trade easier by digitizing the services they provide such as cargo clearing.
The tax agency’s deputy Commissioner, Marketing and Communication Grace Wandera also acknowledged the opportunities AfCFTA offers such as job creation and noted that the taxman is committed to making the trading process smooth and easy.
“We have also set up call centers at all border points to support traders and ensure efficient service delivery,” she noted.
The state department for trade and AfCFTA negotiator Josiah Rotich announced that AfCFTA’s implementation is taking place and out of the 54 African Union members states that signed the pact, only 49 members states that ratified the agreement will be eligible to trade as per the agreement.
“These member states are eligible to trade under AfCFTA preferential trade arrangement which came into effect from 1st January 2021,” he noted.
AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 of the African Union to accelerate intra-African trade and boost the continent’s trading position in the global market by strengthening its common voice and policy space in the global trade negotiations.