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Kenya in race to host continental free trade office

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement legally came into effect on June 1.

In Summary

• The African Continental Free Trade Agreement legally came into effect on June 1.

• Other countries jostling for the position includes Ghana, Senegal and Egypt

African leaders pose for a group photograph as they meet to sign a free trade deal that would create a liberalized market for goods and services across the continent, in Kigali, Rwanda March 21, 2018. /REUTERS
African leaders pose for a group photograph as they meet to sign a free trade deal that would create a liberalized market for goods and services across the continent, in Kigali, Rwanda March 21, 2018. /REUTERS

Kenya is a front runner in the race to host the permanent office of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area whose activities are expected to commence next month.

Other countries jostling for the position includes Ghana, Senegal and Egypt.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Trade Cabinet Secretary,  Peter Munya said that intense lobbying including shuttle diplomacy is underway to ensure Kenya wins the seat.

 

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement legally came into effect on June 1 , but the countries that have signed up have until July to work out it's operational modalities.

Signed by 52 countries and ratified by 24 as at June 1, the treaty, will create $3 trillion (Sh300 trillion) continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people for movement of goods, traders and workers with little restrictions.

"Naturally, Kenya is strategically placed in the continent. It is four hours from Nairobi to major economic hubs in the continent. It will be convenient for the headquarter to be stationed here,’’ Munya said.

A team team of evaluators from the African Union were in the country last month to assess facilities, safety and other criteria before making recommendations to the African Union Council of Ministers .

According to the foreign affairs ministry, the trade office will not only cement Kenya’s role as a lead country in trade and multilateralism but  would also avail Africa the best venue and opportunity to grow free trade.