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Economy

Kenya in bid to host free trade zone secretariat

Macharia Kamau
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya will bid to host the secretariat of Africa’s free trade zone, due to be created in July, targeting the economic benefits that come with hosting international organisations.

Senior government officials are Thursday expected to market the country’s ability to host the permanent office of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area when it begins work in July.

A team of evaluators from the African Union are due in Nairobi today where they will assess facilities, safety and other criteria before making recommendations to the Council of Ministers at the African Union.

“Having the Secretariat come to Kenya would not only cement Kenya’s role as a lead country in trade and multilateralism but it would also avail Africa the best venue and the best opportunity to grow free trade to its full potential, for the benefit of all Africans,” Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said on Wednesday.

Signed by 52 of the 55 African countries, the treaty often known as AfCTA, will create $3 trillion (Sh300 trillion) continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people for movement of goods, traders and workers with little restrictions.

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Kenya will battle with Ghana, Senegal and Egypt; all who signed on the AfCTA when it was launched in Kigali in March last year, to host the secretariat.

The bidding document has not been made public, but officials said Kenya’s experience with hosting 24 UN agencies, several African Union offices and diplomatic missions adds to its ability to host the secretariat.

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