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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

PwC: Sensitise businesses to effectively prepare for the AfCFTA

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Kenya’s negotiators and implementers alike are working hard to make the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (“AfCFTA”) a reality for many Kenyan businesses. PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (“PwC”) has today hosted a webinar to discuss the state of play of implementation of the AfCFTA.

Speaking at the webinar, Mr. Maurice Mwaniki, Customs and International Trade Associate Director at PwC noted that “Access to relevant and timely information regarding the implementation of AfCFTA is an important aspect of enabling businesses to prepare and take advantage of the Agreement”.

Businesses are keen to understand the progress of implementation of this Agreement even as they position themselves to be able to benefit from it. The operationalization of the AfCFTA is particularly crucial as Africa alongside the rest of the world rebuilds its constituent economies in the wake of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maurice added “Kenyan businesses are eager to know how ongoing negotiations will impact business strategy and whether the Kenya Revenue Authority (“KRA”), being the implementing agency, is ready to facilitate trade under AfCFTA”.

In discussing some of the measures undertaken by the KRA, Ms. Kavata Mutuku, a representative of the Trade Facilitation arm at the Customs and Border Control Department, indicated that the Commissioner for Customs approved procurement and subsequent publishing of AfCFTA trading documents in August 2021.

Ms Mutuku further indicated that the Customs system and procedures are currently being reviewed and aligned to accommodate trade under AfCFTA and that KRA is in the process of sensitising its own staff, the private sector and other stakeholders through various capacity building programmes. Ms. Mutuku underscored the importance of Rules of Origin in the implementation of AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA could only come into force once it had been ratified by at least 22 countries; so far 42 countries are ratified, consequently, the Agreement was entered into force on 30 May 2019 with the initial expectation being that trade under the AfCFTA would start by 1 July 2020. Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the AfCFTA was postponed, eventually taking place on 1 January 2021, and thereby marking the official start of trading.

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