Kenya Unveils Comprehensive National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy to Drive Economic Growth and Regional Integration


In line with Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Kenya has unveiled its comprehensive national AfCFTA implementation strategy [PDF]. The strategy aims to harness the immense market potential of the AfCFTA, promote inclusive and sustainable development, and empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. By diversifying its exports and addressing key bottlenecks, Kenya hopes to maximize the benefits of intra-Africa trade and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

National #AfCFTA Implementation Strategy 2022 – 2027 launched recently.

The AfCFTA, a central program under Agenda 2063, seeks to accelerate intra-Africa trade and leverage trade as a catalyst for growth and sustainable development. However, since its official launch in 2021, significant trade activity has yet to materialize. To address this issue, the AfCFTA Secretariat introduced the AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade in July 2022, which focuses on matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between interested State Parties.

Eight countries, including Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Tunisia, have joined the AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade. These countries have identified priority products such as ceramic tiles, batteries, tea, coffee, processed meat products, and various agricultural products. Kenya, recognizing the immense market opportunity presented by the AfCFTA, has aligned its national strategy with its existing policy frameworks and development blueprints.

Kenya’s national AfCFTA implementation strategy is anchored in the country’s National Trade Policy 2017, the Integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy (INEDPS) 2018, and Kenya’s Vision 2030 development blueprint. The strategy aims to secure markets for Kenyan goods and services within Africa, promote value addition and product diversification, and facilitate the increased participation of SMEs, women, youth, and persons living with disabilities in regional trade and investment.

Source (Kenya National AFCFTA strategy )

Importantly, the strategy seeks to break away from the traditional export focus on tea, coffee, cut flowers, and vegetable products, which currently account for over 50 percent of Kenya’s total exports. By prioritizing goods and services such as tea, batteries, confectionery, leather bags, incinerators, and textiles under the guided trade initiative, Kenya aims to explore new avenues for growth and expand the export market for a diverse range of products.

To ensure the success of the strategy, it is imperative that both the ad hoc committee and the national AfCFTA committee include SMEs and start-ups. Recognizing the significant impact of these entities on economic development and job creation, Kenya aims to address existing bottlenecks that hinder their competitiveness. Key areas of focus include creating a conducive business regulatory environment, improving access to finance through initiatives like the “hustler fund,” enhancing productivity, developing suitable infrastructure, and nurturing local talent.

Source (Kenya National AFCFTA strategy )

Kenya is determined to use the guided trade initiative as a testing ground for improving and solving the challenges faced by SMEs and start-ups. By providing support in terms of regulatory reforms, financing opportunities, infrastructure development, and talent acquisition, Kenya aims to create an environment where these enterprises can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the country’s trade and economic landscape.

If Kenya and the AfCFTA as a whole fail to prioritize the needs of SMEs, women, and youth, the potential for inclusive growth will remain a mere aspiration. By embracing the alternative plan and implementing the national AfCFTA strategy, Kenya seeks to empower these key stakeholders and bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, ensuring that the benefits of the AfCFTA are accessible to all segments of society.

As the implementation of the guided trade initiative progresses, Kenya remains optimistic about the transformative power of the AfCFTA and its ability to reshape Africa’s economic future. Through strategic planning, collaboration, and a focus on inclusive development, Kenya aims to position itself as a key player in intra-Africa trade, driving economic growth, and prosperity for its citizens and the entire continent.

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