One of the great benefits of the AfCFTA for the region will be the unlocking of trade barriers between Kenya and Ethiopia, the two largest economies in East Africa. Despite previous efforts to deepen economic relations, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries remains extremely low. Indeed, total bilateral trade did not even reach $70 million in 2019, which represents only 0.5% of Ethiopia`s total exports and 0.09% of Kenya`s trade, mainly food, live animals and some industrial goods (Table 1). The 12th Extraordinary Meeting of the African Union on the AfCFTA was convened to bring the new agreement into its operational phase, which was held in Niamey on 7 July 2019. From 1 January 1, 2021, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will begin to reduce their tariffs, starting with a linear reduction in tariff lines, which will result in the elimination of tariffs on intraregional imports over a period of five years (10 years in the case of countries classified by the United Nations as “least developed countries”); according to the standards of regional trade agreements, this pace of liberalization will be quite rapid.
Africa Free Trade Agreement 2020