•The current export to only 28 per cent of African countries signals existence of a huge market that has potential to enhance trade revenue.
•Upon finalisation the report will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Economic Planning by 31st March 2023.
Kenya needs to address existing obstacles that hinder regional business in order for its trade sector to achieve full potential, according to policy researchers.
Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) says the concentration of goods and services to a few varieties and export markets has limited the trade sector's performance.
The body mandated to provide public policy advice to the government.
It notes that further shocks such as increase in crude oil prices, droughts, and the COVID-19 pandemic have ensured that the local trade performance remains sensitive.
KIPPRA Executive Director Rose Ngugi in the brief says the state will need to finalise the implementation of the Medium-Term Plans (MTP’s) on proposed trade flagship projects that are still lagging.
This, she says, will include the construction of one-tier markets that are yet to be completed, including mapping out all the products exported to and imported within African to boost trade performance.
“To enhance trade performance and achieve economic resilience it is imperative to strategise in taking advantage of the opportunities brought by operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other trade agreements,” said Ngugi.
Slow adoption of the free trade area pact has exposed the countries to situations where the customs departments are not aware of the list of 90 percent of products that can be traded without barriers or levies.
The policy document precedes the KIPPRA Kenya Economic Report 2023, a statutory report prepared annually by KIPPRA, which provides Kenya’s economic performance and prospects for the medium-term.
The policy document notes that the current export to only 28 per cent of African countries signals existence of a huge market that has potential to enhance trade revenue.
It adds that the state should pursue free trade agreements with focus on products that offer Kenya high returns for exports and imports.
“The mapping out of these products will help improve export promotion strategies in Africa for Kenya and review the National Trade Policy (NTP) of 2016 to capture the trade dynamics arising from the AfCFTA and other trade agreements that have been signed by,” the document reads in part.
Ngugi called for collaboration between the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development and agencies such as Export Promotion Council, Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the private sector to help develop export promotion strategies and increase trade revenue.
Upon finalisation the report will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Economic Planning by 31st March 2023.