EPC Partners with Afreximbank in deepening Kenya Africa Trade

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The Export Promotion Council in collaboration with the Africa Export Import Bank held a half day seminar on Kenya-Africa Trade on Thursday 13th September 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel. The theme for the half day seminar was a ‘strategy to deepen Kenya Africa Trade’- The case for the African Continental Free Trade Area. The seminar was aimed at sensitizing the public and private sector, financial institutions as well as relevant trade associations on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the inaugural Trade Fair in support of the AFCFTA.
It was composed of key note addresses as well as panel discussions on the realization of the AfCFTA. Among the panelists were Mr. Kiprono Kittony- Chairman, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jaswinder Bedi- Chairman, Export Promotion Council, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Private Sector Alliance Ms. Rachel Muthoga and Director Global Head, Strategy and Innovation, Afrexim Bank, Dr. Robert Ochola. It also engaged in the thought leadership session where opportunities under the AfCFTA would be used in identifying solutions to address the challenges of intra-African trade in Kenya.
Kenya exports about 39% of its total products to other African countries. It was the first country to approve the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement to ensure a faster Implementation to spur manufacturing in Kenya and the continent at large. A total of 44 African governments signed the AfCFTA agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, which aims to create a sole African market for goods and services expected to boost intra-Africa trade for Africa’s economic transformation.

“There are immense opportunities in the African Market and there is need to start trading amongst African Countries as the intra-African trade is at 11% which is low. Kenya should take advantage of the 70% young population,” The Chairman, Export Promotion Council Mr.  Jas Bedi said.
Mr. Bedi mentioned that Africa has a large land mass and out of it, 55% of it is uncultivated arable land. He urged that Kenya should maximize on the abundant labor capital and should break the walls of trade hence take advantage of the huge opportunity. The Chairman spoke of an existing problem, the lack of value addition in the value chain of exported products which are mostly raw and perishable agricultural products. He advised African countries to view each other as complements other than competitors and a framework should be formulated to liberate the continent from its past.
Mr. Kiprono Kittony, noted that it was important to identify what it is that hinders the flow of goods and services. Infrastructure was pointed out as one of the key challenges in Africa by Dr. Robert Ochola. The Director mentioned that the existing stock carries USD 1 trillion worth of trade and added that there was lack of trade and market information. Dr. Ochola further enlightened the guests on the aims of Intra African Trade fair some of which are enhancing global networking, a market place for buyers and sellers, a virtual e-commerce platform, Business to Business forums, SME’s and informal and market information data and one stop shop for intra African Trade. Dr. Ochola further informed of the Agenda 2063 who’s some of its objectives are building the Africa we want and Increasing intra African Trade from 11% in 2011 to 24% in 2022. He noted that boosting Intra African Trade was put at the epicenter of the plan.
Ms. Rachel Muthoga, Deputy CEO KEPSA, informed that the call for Africa to integrate, invest and trade with itself is long overdue and relevant currently than ever. “The continent is home to six of the world’s top ten fastest growing economies (i.e. Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Djibouti and Tanzania) and is culturally diverse, with a population of over 1.2 billion with a Gross Domestic product (GDP) of USD 3.4 trillion, making Africa the world’s largest single market,” she said.  “Kenya remains the hub for East and Central Africa’s business and transport and is poised for greater achievements especially with ongoing development ofs the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to take advantage of the Coast and Lake regions, “the Deputy CEO said.
Chief Executive Officer, Export Promotion Council, Mr. Peter K. Biwott urged that the mission should be to promote the ‘Buy Africa, Build Africa’ initiative. He emphasized on a need of a paradigm shift and stated that with determination, anything can be achieved. Mr. Bedi emphasized on the need to create job opportunities for the young population and Africa should focus on being the world’s biggest manufacturing society.

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