Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

Kenya – which counts the European Union (EU) as its biggest market, sending it roughly one-fifth of all its exports – has signed a trade deal with the economic bloc.

The agreement will give the East Africa nation tariff-free access to the EU, although the Kenyan market will not open up immediately to EU goods.

This Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), as the deal is known, has been hailed as historic by both parties, and is expected to boost trade between the two parties which stands at $3.6bn (£2.8bn) as of 2022.

Kenyan exporters are likely to see an increase in their earnings. The deal could also enable Kenyan farmers access a secure and wider market in Europe.

But there are concerns that eventually liberalising agriculture, which dominates the Kenyan economy, could expose the country to competition with subsidised products from the EU and threaten Kenyan farmers’ incomes.

There are also fears that besides the agricultural sector, the trade deal could, down the road, stand in the way of development if more EU firms set up operations in Kenya.

The delay in opening up the Kenyan market is intended to give the economy here time to change.

Skills transfer and job creation are potential benefits, but homegrown businesses could suffer if they do not change in the long term.

By Joy

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