Kenya will next week deposit legal instruments ratifying the Africa Continental Free Trade Area at the African Union Commission just a week after the National Assembly ratified the agreement that was signed in Kigali, Rwanda in March.
The instruments are expected to be lodged with the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki as a sign of Kenya’s commitment to the integration of all the 54 African states.
This was revealed by State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu during his weekly press briefing in Nairobi on Sunday.
“Kenya attaches significant importance to the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement and AfCTA because of the huge market and investment opportunities that they will present to Kenya. That is why we want to be the first country to deposit our instruments of ratification,” Mr Esipisu said.
Last March, Kenya was among 27 countries that signed the protocol allowing for free movement of goods and services throughout the African continent during a ceremony held in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21.
Dubbed the AfCTA, the protocol to the treaty establishing the African economic community, commits governments to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods produced within the continent and phase out the rest over time.
AfCTA targets to create the world’s largest single market of 1.2 billion people and GDP of $3.4 trillion (Sh340 trillion).
Another 17 countries said they would ratify AfCTA partially allowing for free trade but not movement and residency of people from other countries.
Countries now have to ratify the CFTA agreement at national level within six months, that is, by September this year.
Those that did not sign can also do so within the same period.
Rwanda and Ghanaian parliaments have already ratified the treaty.
At the moment, intra-Africa trade is estimated to be around 12 percent, which is relatively low compared to other regions of the world.
Intra-European trade is estimated to be around 60 per cent while that of Asia is around 40 per cent.
AfCTA is expected to boost intra Africa trade to 22 per cent by 2022.
Mr Esipisu said the treaty will lead to the creation of wider and expanded African market with a combined population of over 1.2 billion people and a growing middle class, as well as a combined GDP of more than Sh340 trillion.
The African continental population is expected to reach two billion by 2050.
“Kenya will continue to participate in the negotiations on the outstanding technical issues both at the Tripartite Free Trade Area and AfCFTA to secure its trade and economic interests and realise the dream of a single continental free trade area,” he said.