Kenya and Nigeria embrace Free Trade deal to boost economic development
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could deliver far greater benefits making it a potential game changer for Africa’s economic development.
The National President, ECOWAS FEBWE Nigeria , Chief Iyalode Alaba Lawson accompanied by entrepreneurs from the Women Entrepreneurs Professionals Development Network WEPDN paid a courtesy visit to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry(KNCCI) and were received by The Chamber 2nd Vice President Ms. Fatma Elmaawy, KNCCI Economic Diplomacy committee Chairman Mr. Ronald Meru and Chief Executive Officer ,East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (EACCI) Mr. Charles Kahuthu.
ECOWAS FEBWE Nigeria has a vision to facilitate friendly relationships, collaboration and partnerships between the ECOWAS women entrepreneurs and their international counterparts and also to promote trade, investment and exhibition of quality products internationally.
The Chamber 2nd Vice President in her welcoming remarks noted that, Kenya and Nigeria have a long-standing trade relationship and both countries being members of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will enhance a mutual relationship towards economic development.
The main exports from Kenya to Nigeria include tea, horticultural products, textiles, and processed foods, while Nigeria exports petroleum products, cement, and chemicals to Kenya. There are also growing opportunities for trade in the areas of technology, renewable energy, and services.
Kenya and Nigeria are both important players in their respective regions, with Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa and Kenya being a major economic hub in East Africa. As such, there are many opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries.
Chief Iyalode Alaba Lawson noted that there is need for capacity building for both countries to understand some challenges to increasing trade between the two countries, including differences in regulations and standards, high transportation costs, and a lack of direct flights between the two countries. Nevertheless, both governments have expressed a commitment to strengthening economic ties and increasing trade volumes, and there are ongoing efforts to address these challenges and promote greater trade and investment between Kenya and Nigeria.
In order to promote trade between the two countries it would likely involve a combination of political, economic, and diplomatic efforts. Some possible steps that could be taken include:
Promoting greater market access: One of the main barriers to trade is the presence of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, such as regulations and standards, that make it difficult for businesses to sell their products in foreign markets. Governments can work to reduce or eliminate these barriers to create greater market access for businesses.
Investing in infrastructure: The cost of transportation and logistics can be a major obstacle to trade, particularly in developing countries. Investing in infrastructure, such as ports, roads, and airports, can help reduce transportation costs and increase the efficiency of trade.
Streamlining customs procedures: Delays at customs can add significant costs and time to the process of importing and exporting goods. Governments can work to streamline customs procedures and improve the efficiency of border crossings to facilitate trade.
Providing incentives for businesses: Governments can offer incentives, such as tax breaks, subsidies, and grants, to encourage businesses to invest in trade and expand their exports.
Facilitating trade agreements: Regional and international trade agreements, such as the AfCFTA, can help create a more favorable environment for trade by reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers and promoting greater economic integration.
KNCCI will continue to play an important role in supporting partnerships between Kenya and Nigeria. By providing trade missions, business matchmaking, policy advocacy, information sharing, and capacity building, to help create an enabling environment for business growth and economic development in both countries.