Nairobi steps up bid for trade bloc headquarters

Industry and Trade CS Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Nairobi is growing increasingly confident it will beat its five competitors in the race to host the secretariat for a proposed continental trade bloc.

Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Egypt, Madagascar and e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland) are battling it out to host the seat for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has been ratified by 52 of 55 countries. Kenya and Ghana on May 10 last year became the first countries to ratify the AfCFTA deal which required a minimum of 22 countries to be operationalised.

Industry and Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says Kenya has upped its campaign to mobilise support from across Africa ahead of a vote by African Union’s Council of Ministers.

“We have requested support from our peers within the EAC and we continue lobbying other countries,” Mr Munya said.

Nairobi’s geographical location and a relatively developed air transport infrastructure, he added, give the Kenyan capital an upper hand over its rivals.

“We also have experience because we host other global bodies like the UN here,” he said.

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