10 MAY 2019







The 1st Annual County Government Trade Ministers’ conference (CGTMC) on Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA ) kicked off with a positive attitude from the participants despite poor attendance of County Trade Ministers. 


Giving his key note address and state of play of AfCFTA, Dr. Fred Simiyu, Deputy Director International Trade, state Department for Trade, said that it was “unfortunate that most County trade Ministers were not present for this timely conference.”  He however expressed optimism that future county Government Trade Ministers Conference will be well attended as more effort will be done to nature the forum.


Dr. Fred who was representing, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Trade Ministry of Industry Trade and Cooperatives, gave a presentation on AfCFTA. He focused on the AfCFTA agreement protocols, which aimed at broader trade and economic integration in social cultural development economic stability and thereby raising standards of life and establishing peaceful co-existence between member states. Dr. Fred Cited the Kigali Declaration that launched the adoption and signing of the AfCFTA legal instruments. The principles of AfCFTA in article 5 include progressively eliminate tariffs and non-tariffs bariers to trade in goods, liberalize trade in services and cooperate on investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. He gave a startling statistics that 14 countries accounted for about 72.65 % share of Kenya’s Top Export market in 2017 and 12 products accounted for about 67.5% share if Kenya’s top Export products in the same year. He also mentioned that India and China have huge trade imbalances with Kenya.   He further said that member states shall enter into Phase II negotiations in the areas of Intellectual property rights, investment and Competition Policy. He divulged that state parties may support the establishment and operation of special economic Zones for the purpose of accelerating development and the benefits of AfCFTA to African Countries.


Dr. Fred shared the integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy that aims to transform Kenya’s Economy through Export lead industrial, Agricultural and trade in services development. The priority sectors include Manufacturing, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Mining, oil and gas, and trade in services


Dr. Fred mentioned that the Kenya’s Presidency has led the way in securing market access opportunities for Kenya through COMESA-EAC-SADC, Bilateral meeting with such Countries as USA, China and European Union. He said that Kenya and China signed the sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS). In his final remarks, Dr. Fred cited that the Integrated National Export Development and Promotion strategy (IEDPS) and the National Trade Policy are two instruments being implemented by state department of Trade to increase exports to world markets. He said that the two instruments with the AfCFTA will stimulate production of agro-products and manufactured goods in the counties for export. His parting shot were diversify the export basket, develop new markets and grow the exporter base. And on the behalf of the Principal Secretary, He declared the 1st Annual County Government Trade Ministers’ Conference open.


Mr. David Arega, Director of Partnerships at SAUTI. gave a presentation on creating a supportive environment for women cross border traders (CBTs). Mr. Arega cited some of the challenges faced by female CBTs, which included lack of information on the privileges and limits of the AfCFTA, lack of information on cross border trade including market prices, border procedure and exchange rate, complex documentation, non-tariff barriers, non – competitive quality and prices of produce, non-harmonized standards. Mr. Arega also cited some statistics that $ 5.6 billion is the annual intra-EAC trade, $ 2 billion is the annual small scale intra-EAC trade and that there are 16 million traders in EAC of which 60% are women and primarily trade in staples and agricultural commodities. Mr. Arega mentioned that SAUTI. has developed a ‘SAUTI. mobile solution’ that supports traders with information, market information and incident reporting. SAUTI. also developed an impact Model that aims at reducing cost of business, greater accountability, and improved business and trade knowledge.


In his final presentation, Mr. Arega cited the opportunities for County Government to support CBTs as part of AfCFTA implementation. He mentioned that the counties can provide platforms to women that disseminate information on opportunities offered by AfCFTA, provide traders with market intelligence, and support around value addition to make exports competitive, lobby for harmonization of product standards, reduce tax burden and documentation requirement and partner with relevant players in the CBT ecosystem to draw on existing expertise e.g. the Kenya National Bureau of Standards, to collect better data on for Data driven policy and action.


Ms Klaudine Wakasa, Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Canada in Kenya made a presentation on Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) discussing innovation on dispute resolution. Ms Klaudine elaborated why Canada is entering a trade agreement with the EU and what makes CETA different from previous trade agreement. Ms Klaudine cited that the agreement will be fully implemented once it is ratified by all EU member states. She mentioned that the Multi directional increase in overall exports, growth in aluminum, motor vehicles and parts and inorganic chemical sectors as early results in the agreement. She went further to explain the CETA dispute resolution mechanism citing permanent tribunal, conflict of interest, chance of appeal, strong protection of the right to regulate for all levels of government and joining efforts with other partners for set up a multilateral court as some of the ways to handle disputes.  Finally she finished her presentation with myth busting of the CETA agreement. She refuted that CETA diminishes right of the EU to regulate for public policy purposes, diminishing food safety standards in the EU, forcing EU privatize public services, allowing American companies to sue the EU through investment dispute settlement provisions and that CETA does not result in an increase of GHG emissions.


SYMPOSIUM FOOD SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Advancing Access to food and proper nutrition on Political Economy of IGAD and EAC through SDGs 5TH MAY 2017 8:00 AM – 5:00PM | KENYA SCHOOL OF MONETARY STUDIES (KSMS) RUARAKA, NAIROBI



Action Green for Trade and Sustainable Development (AGTSD) in conjunction East Africa Civil Society Organization’s Forum (EACSOF) and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) wish to invite you to a symposium on Food Security and Climate Change,advancing Access to Food and Proper Nutrition on political Economy of IGAD and EAC through SDGs sustainable,” which will take place on the 5th May 2017 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS).

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness to high level stakeholders in the current food and nutrition crisis facing IGAD and EAC regions. The event is also responding to Kenya Red Cross drought appeal, #WeAreAllKenyans. According to Red Cross Kenya, “It is expected that some counties in Kenya may slide into the emergency phase in March 2017 and push the number of affected people to four million if it doesn’t rain in the coming month[1]…”

The conference registration and participation fee is Kshs. 5,000.00 or $ 50.00. Participants can also pay more to this event. Registration fees covers participation in the Conference, the Conference articles that will be presented, participation to the coffee breaks and lunch. Part of the proceeds will go towards Kenya Red Cross Drought Appeal. The registration closes on the 30th April 2017 11:59 PM.

All Payments should be made to the following Bank Account


Banking Details:

Account Name: Action Green for Trade and Sustainable Development (AGTSD)

Bank Name: Bank of Africa

Account Number: 01076680003

Branch Name: Reinsurance Plaza





Or through Paybill



Paybill No. 972900 

Bank Account Number 01076680003



Kindly find attached draft conference note and the provisional programme.


We look forward to welcoming and exchanging ideas and experiences with you on food security in IGAD and EAC and share the Briefing Note with the relevant authorities. You are allowed to share this invitation letter to your wider network as much as possible. If you have any questions, you can email or call the undersigned










Eugene Jernigan

Trade Policy and Development

Africa WTO Coordinator


Action Green for Trade and Sustainable Development (AGTSD)


Mobile: 0722996837, 0733756224,


Office: 0202311895 0788323808,


ICTSD Launch the Trade and Development Symposium at WTO Public Forum

ICTSD Launch the Trade and Development Symposium at WTO Public Forum


The Trade and Development Symposium (TDS) was launched today during the WTO Public Forum at a dedicated lunch briefing. The TDS will be held alongside the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference 14-17 December.


ICTSD CEO Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz opened the lunch discussion by introducing the event to a room full of participants, from high-level government officials to business representatives and thought leaders.  He pointed out that it is was an excellent opportunity to hold the event for the first time in Africa, paving the way for active engagement with multi-stakeholders in the region and designing possible solutions for the future.

ICTSD Managing Director, Deborah Vorhies then took the floor, explaining the 4 days planned of dynamic debate and discussions including the E15 Initiative, Nairobi Trade and Business Forum, high level plenaries and over 40 sessions tackling the most important issues on the sustainable development agenda.

ICTSD had the great pleasure of welcoming to the lunch discussion, Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya and Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.  

Amina Mohamed, 
Arancha Gonzalez, Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz

Amina Mohamed, Deborah Vorhies,
Andrew Crosby

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, 
Amina Mohamed, Arancha Gonzalez

Training on Climate, Food and Trade - Developing Coherence Policies and Programmes in East Africa Community

Improving Market Access for the Least Developed Countries in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Improving Market Access for the Least Developed Countries in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
08 October 2015
Goal 17
A new UNCTAD Policy Brief focuses on key questions concerning how to achieve target 17.11 of the Global Goals though improving market access conditions faced by the least developed countries.


The sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aim to double the share of global exports of the least developed countries (LDCs) by 2020.

The agenda also calls for providing duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access to LDCs as one of the main pillars of international support for export expansion by LDCs. DFQF market access is important, but will it be sufficient to double the export share of LDCs? And will it contribute to sustainable development?


What will genuinely improve the market access conditions faced by the least developed countries?

Considering market access conditions as one of the binding constraints to the export growth of LDCs in the post-2015 development agenda (along with constraints related to infrastructure, energy and transport), UNCTAD proposes the following package of six international actions:

  1. Provide duty-free and quota-free market access

  2. Implement the WTO ministerial decision on the services waiver and fulfil article IV.1 and 3 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services

  3. Reduce future trade costs by cooperating in SDG implementation

  4. Physically connect LDCs to the international market

  5. Target aid for trade to upgrade the productive and export capacity of LDCs

  6. Help LDCs use their export growth to achieve sustainable development


  • Articles


    Say, the US Congress extends Agoa, will Africa gain more?


    In Summary


    • If the US Congress withdrew Agoa privileges, it would be deleterious to fragile economies, which are found in Africa. But more challenging is if the US Congress emulates the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement trade discussions with Agoa-eligible countries.

      The 2014 US-Africa leaders’ summit is to the African leaders, a new lease of life in trade and investment.

      The momentum at the summit shows that there is every indication the US Congress will approve the Agoa 2.0.

      At the the 2013 Agoa forum in Addis Ababa, among the participants was Michael Froman, who expressed a desire to launch a comprehensive review of the Agoa trade preference programme.

      The forum called for the seamless re-authorisation of Agoa by October 2014 for at least 15 years to ensure that trade with the US took place on a more predictable, in more reliable and on more legally secure basis that would inspire investors confidence.

      Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn requested African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for AfricaUC and UNECA team to put a review on Agoa, outlining Africa’s position.

      Taking Africa to the next level in trade and investment will need strong cooperation and proper strategies from the African leaders, more so an ‘authority on trade and investment’ equivalent to USTR.

      This is because Africa is a conglomeration of fragmented nations and having one common goal is usually the biggest challenge. Also, Africa is the world’s most expensive region with which to do business.

      Part of the proper strategies will be to put the agenda of mainstreaming trade policies in their respective countries, eventually making Africa an equal partner with the US, that is, having a possibility of free trade agreement.

      The African leadership needs to focus on the supply side constraints such as capacity constraints, infrastructure challenges, institutional inefficiency, economic setbacks, marketing and merchandising inexperience, political risk and problem related to US market requirements.

      The exponential growth of Agoa, which was signed into law in May 2000, provides for duty – free and largely quote-free access to the US market for products originating from Agoa eligible countries.

      In 2008, before the financial meltdown trade had reached $100 billion, the aggregate exports from Agoa eligible countries stood at $ 81.9 Billion.

      African exports have grown over 500 per cent over the decade increasing from $8.15 billion in 2001 to $53.8 billion in 2011. More than 1,835 products are on the list for trade between US and Africa.

      The absurdity of this pattern of trade is that extractive industries (crude petroleum, oil and gas) remained the dominant African exports to the US under Agoa.

      More shocking is that Nigeria, South Africa and Angola accounted for 80 per cent of the total exports to the US.

      The question is: Is Agoa remedial to African trade? But the catch-22 situation would be if the US Congress withdrew Agoa privileges, it would be deleterious to fragile economies, which are found in Africa. But more challenging is if the US Congress emulates the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement trade discussions with Agoa-eligible countries.

      In 2000–2009, Agoa exports of textiles and apparel from sub-Saharan African increased by 23 per cent from $748 million to $922 million. But most of the investments in Africa’s textile and apparel industries mainly came from Asian countries.

      Why are American firms not increasing investments in Africa? Should Africa require an extension of Agoa, where only a few countries are benefitting?

      The African Union Commission white paper proposes a number of strategies: Increase of product coverage to 100 per cent duty-free, quota-free access that would stimulate Africa’s exports to the US; make third country fabric provision an integral part of the revised Agoa; revise rules of origin to more simpler and flexible ones; unilateral withdrawal of country eligibility; graduation provision should be done away with; promoting US investment in Africa by providing targeted tax incentives; streamline US a to African countries; lay foundations for US–African trade agreement and maintaining momentum on Agoa forum.

      Will the US Congress allow Agoa eligible countries to enter into global supply chains and distribution network via allowing them 100 per cent duty free quota free (DFQF) access to the US?

      The white paper suggests comprehensive and enviable solutions but it will be interesting to follow how the US Congress and Senate will respond to Africa seeking re-authorisation of Agoa by October.

      Eugene Jernigan



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