On October 5, 2022, H.E. President William Ruto flagged off the inaugural consignment of Kenya value-added tea to Ghana under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA), marking Kenya’s maiden export to the West African country in first AfCFTA guided trade deal. Kenya and Ghana were the first African Union (AU) Member States to deposit their instruments of ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area with the African Union Commission.

Kenya, was one of the eight countries selected to participate in the pilot phase of the AfCFTA guided trade initiative. The other nations selected for the initiative including Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Cameroon and Mauritius. The piloting countries are required to identify products that can access each other’s markets.

Also present at the function were outgoing Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development, AfCFTA Secretary General, Wamkele Mene, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to Kenya, H.E. Mr. Damptey B. Asare, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Amb. Matwanga, Director – Commercial Diplomacy, Amb. Yobesh Monari, Director – Africa & AU as well as Amb. Galma Boru among other senior government officials.

Through an Ad Hoc Committee formed to spearhead this initiative, Kenya identified several products including tea, batteries, confectionery, leather bags, incinerators, beaded products, vehicular filters, textiles, sisal fibre, avocados and fresh produce.

H.E. President Ruto said that Kenya is strongly committed to exploiting the full potential of value addition and unlocking the opportunities available within AfCFTA framework.  Additionally, President Ruto observed that the country will take decisive action to enhance the diversification of its economy to unleash the full force of its manufacturing sector for its farmers to benefit from better prices. He further encouraged the private sector to leverage the opportunities under the AfCFTA and join Ghana and Kenya on the journey to boosting African economies.

On his side, AfCFTA Secretary General said that the partnership between Kenya and Ghana was a step in the right direction as it has set the continent towards industrialization and economic prosperity. Further, he exuded confidence that what Kenya and Ghana were doing was to give commercial meaning to Africa Union’s project of integrating markets and economy as a continent.