Eastern and Southern African trade promotion organizations are pushing Kenya to rescind its recent agreement with the EU. They claim the deal will endanger the integration of East Africa and the continent as a whole, as well as the ongoing trade initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The EPA is a free trade agreement under which the European Union allows its partners quota- and tariff-free exports, while these countries also lift trade restrictions on European goods in a phased manner.
However, Kenya’s dilemma, Nalunga says, is that while the EU is a significant market for Kenya, it exports there raw materials and fresh products like flowers and fruits, yet it has a bigger market in East Africa, which it could focus on.
Rangarirai Machemedze, Coordinator SEATINI Southern Africa, says that Kenya will find it hard to trade with Europe without a deal. He also condemned the way the EU/Kenya deal is designed, without providing for incentives that had been agreed on in the early negotiations.