In May 2019 the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) entered into force. The agreement includes trade facilitation measures tailored to the African context. It aims to make import, export, and transit procedures within the continent more efficient. Kenya has ratified the agreement and has already introduced a National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy.
Currently, costs and time involved in the import and export of products within and outside the African continent are still comparatively high. Inefficient procedures stem from red tape and a low level of harmonisation and inter-agency cooperation.
The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation already has an ongoing project in Kenya. It aims to map, simplify and where possible digitise trade procedures for the two commodities avocado and fish. The new project has a broader focuses on supporting trade- related ministries and border agencies in the implementation of selected annexes of the AfCFTA that largely resemble with articles from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
WHAT WE DO
The project plans to build on the trade facilitation ambitions which were already strengthened by previous activities under the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation. One objective is to make information on import and export procedures accessible to all parties involved in cross-border trade. The publication and availability of information online will increase the transparency of Kenyan import and export procedures. Moreover, the project includes capacity building to sensitise and engage stakeholders from the public and private sector on the AfCFTA annexes related to trade facilitation. With increased knowledge they can make full use of the AfCFTA’s benefits.
Furthermore, the planned activities aim to foster the cooperation among border agencies in Kenya. Enhanced border agency cooperation is important to achieve expedited processing of imports and exports, improved revenue collection, effective law enforcement and the efficient use of resources. Another goal is to harmonise Kenya’s export and import procedures with international best practices.
The project works in close collaboration with the public and the private sector. This approach ensures that both sectors will profit from the activities. Among others, public sector partners are the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development, Kenya Trade Network Agency and the National Trade Facilitation Committee. Private sector partners include the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Shippers Council of Eastern Africa, and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
- Increased awareness by traders on export procedures.
- Increased transparency and consistency in export and import procedures.
- Reduced time in export and import processes.
- Cost reduction of border formalities for businesses and governments.
Photo source: Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce & Tourism/creativecommons.org