PricewaterhouseCoopers recently hosted a webinar to discuss the state of implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

According to PwC, 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. Businesses are keen to understand the progress of implementation of this Agreement even as they position themselves to benefit from it.

The AfCFTA could only be implemented once it had been ratified by at least 22 countries. So far, 42 countries are ratified, and consequently, the Agreement was entered into force on 30th May, 2019, with the initial expectation being that trade under the AfCFTA would start by 1st July, 2020.

Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the AfCFTA was postponed, eventually taking place on 1st January, 2021, and thereby marking the official start of trading.

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

Addressing some of the measures undertaken by KRA, 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.

She further noted that the customs system and procedures are currently being reviewed and aligned to accommodate trade under AfCFTA. According to her, KRA is in the process of sensitizing its own staff, the private sector and other stakeholders through various capacity building programs.