Kenya imports fridges from South Africa under AfCFTA

Thursday February 01 2024

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry (2nd L) with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) at the port of Durban, South Africa during the launch of the first consignment of goods to Kenya under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 31, 2024. PHOTO | MINISTRY OF TRADE via X


Kenya is importing its first consignment of machinery, agricultural products and electronics, among them refrigerators, from South Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In return, Kenya is expected to export tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables in the coming weeks under the same initiative.

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa inaugurated South Africa’s first trade shipments under the AfCFTA at the Port of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal at the 13th AfCFTA Council of Ministers meeting attended by over 12 African Trade ministers, including Kenya’s Rebecca Miano.

“The first consignment that was flagged off to Kenya contained fridges and freezers. Going forward we shall expect imports from South Africa only of the products we do not manufacture in Kenya,” said Ms Miano.       

“Kenya will also export to South Africa her tea, coffee, flowers, vegetables, a wide range of fruits, apparel, iron and steel products, among others,” she added.

The implementation of the AfCFTA will see the two countries increase their level of trade by creating awareness among the traders. Currently, trade is in favour of South Africa, which enjoys a significant trade surplus. Official data shows Kenya imported goods worth Sh61.1 billion from South Africa against Sh6.8 billion exports.


Preferential trading

According to Ms Miano, the two countries committed to ease the entry of each other’s products into the market and address non-tariff barriers to boost intra-Africa trade.

South Africa is the first among the four Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries to launch its preferential trade exports under the AfCFTA’s second Guided Trade Initiative.

Kenya was in the initial pilot phase, including Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia.

The preferential trading under the AfCFTA framework aims to unlock the movement of goods and services in the continent.

“We have made significant progress with resolving the modalities of the AfCFTA,” South Africa Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel said.

“We are explicitly aware of the expectations of citizens across the African continent and an integrated Africa must provide these opportunities for development and prosperity.”

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AfCFTA secretary general, Wamkele Mene, emphasised the need for the private sector to play a pivotal role in the continental trade.