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Cabinet gives approval to Africa Free Trade treaty

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The Cabinet yesterday approved the Africa Continental Free Trade treaty for ratification.

The bill for ratifying the treaty, which was signed in Rwanda by 44 countries, will be presented to Parliament following its approval by Cabinet in its first sitting.

The treaty will come into effect after it is ratified by 22 countries. Kenya will be one of the first countries to adopt the agreement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired the Cabinet meeting attended by Deputy President William Ruto. Uhuru urged the private sector to take advantage of the business opportunities presented by the deal to extend Kenya’s foothold in all the 54 African nations.

“It is a great opportunity to export goods and services across the continent,” the Cabinet said in a statement.

The trade deal will establish a single liberalised market that will spur industrialisation, infrastructure development, economic diversification and trade across the continent of more than 1.2 billion people.

The pact also seeks to promote industrial development through diversification, regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security. When fully implemented, the treaty will enable residents of all countries to enjoy a single passport and currency.

The trade deal binds all state parties to eight objectives including the progressive elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods.

The signatory states parties are also expected to progressively liberalise trade in services. Under the agreement countries will establish a mechanism for the settlement of disputes concerning their rights andobligations.

The Cabinet also approved for ratification the tripartite free trade pact.