, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Kenya has formally presented its bid to host the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Nairobi.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau said Kenya’s bid was anchored on key selling points including geographical centrality in the continent, improved infrastructure, and freedom of the press.
An evaluation team is set to submit an assessment of seven countries seeking to host the secretariat for a decision in about four months.
“There’s a Council that will look at the seven countries that have presented their bids before making a decision on which bid meets the threshold,” PS Macharia said.
He said the government had availed at least five buildings for consideration by the evaluation team with a commitment to pay rent should Kenya’s bid sail through.
“We’re availing many buildings in Upper Hill, Westlands, Gigiri, and Central Business District and we’ve already spoken to managers of some of the buildings who’re available to offer some of the buildings,” the PS stated adding the government would facilitate the furnishing of the buildings should Kenya win the bid to host the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Kamua said the hosting of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Nairobi will open up opportunities for the capital and foster the country’s position as a multilateral hub.
Kenya is up against Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia, eSwatini, Ghana, and Madagascar.
“We know that the more of these international organizations we have in Kenya the more opportunities to transform our country and brand and create a greater economy for ourselves,” he assured.
The AfCFTA accord was adopted by the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018 in a bid to attain the integration of a continental common market with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $ 3.4 trillion, and an estimated population of 1 billion people.
Fifty-two of fifty-four countries appended their signatures to the agreement with twenty nations having ratified the agreement.
The twenty countries have since deposited the ratification instruments, the latest being Uganda and Togo in February.
Kenya ratified the deal on ratified and deposited the instruments of the deal in May 2018.
The other countries that have ratified AfCFTA are Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, and eSwatini.
The agreement will be fully implemented after the 22nd country deposits ratification instruments.
Other member States wil be accepted to accede to the agreement when they join it after it comes into force.
The AfCFTA is projected to increase intra-African trade by fifty-two per cent by 2022 with up to 90 per cent of tariffs set to be removed.