Parliament has approved the continental free-trade zone pact, making Kenya the first African country to offer legal backing to the continental trading bloc.
The National Assembly endorsed the report of the Defence and Foreign Relations committee that recommended ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) after it was tabled in the House by Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohamed early this month.
The MPs at the same time approved the ratification of the Common Markets for East and Central Africa (Comesa), East Africa Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) AND Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) agreements.
“The committee recommends that, pursuant to Section 8 of the Treaty Making Ratification Act, the House approves the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Comesa-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) as they are in Kenya’s national interest,” Katoo ole Metito, who chairs the Foreign Affairs committee said in the report that was unanimously approved.
The AfCFTA pact is expected to establish a single market with duty-free access among traders in order to spur industrialisation, infrastructure development and economic diversification across Africa that is home to more than 1.2 billion people.
Similarly, the TFTA deal seeks to provide an expanded market for both manufactured and primary goods for Kenyan products within a single economic space of the three regional economic communities with a population of 625 million people.
“The implementation of the TFTA agreement will resolve the challenges faced with multiple memberships to regional economic communities,” Mr Katoo said in the report.