Guided Trade Initiative: Inside CS Kuria's Agreement With 6 Countries

Moses Kuria and Suluhu
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria (Left) and Tanzanian President Mama Suluhu Hassan (Right) when his visit to Dar-es-Salam on February 3, 2023.
Moses Kuria

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria on Monday, May 30, explained how a new deal known as Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) had impacted export businesses between Kenya and six other African nations.

Speaking while addressing a delegation at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Nairobi, Kuria noted that the seven countries that make up the Guided Trade Initiative had agreed to remove non-tariff barriers that had previously caused a lot of delays in the movement of goods and people.

Launched by the (AfCFTA) Secretariat in October 2022, the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) is made up of Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

"The Guided Trade Initiative acts as a springboard to promote trade under the AfCFTA, creating a multiplier effect, more opportunities for SMEs, youth, and women in trade, and ultimately achieving inclusive & sustainable economic development," Moses Kuria stated.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria (Left) and Tanzanian President Mama Suluhu Hassan (Right) when his visit to Dar-es-Salam on February 3, 2023.
Moses Kuria

The GTI aims to test the operational, institutional, legal and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA by allowing commercially meaningful trading between a select group of countries.

Kuria explained that Kenyans, more like citizens of the six other nations, were able to export their products across the borders with minimal interruptions.

"The GTI also aims to increase opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), youth and women in trade," Kuria told AfCFTA delegates.

The countries were selected based on their commitment to the AfCFTA and their readiness to participate in the Guided Trade Initiative.

The GTI is being implemented through a series of activities, including matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between interested State Parties.

Guided Trade Initiative is providing technical assistance to businesses and governments on AfCFTA-related issues and facilitates customs clearance and other trade-related procedures.

"The initiative is also raising awareness of the AfCFTA among businesses and governments in order to increase trade between participating countries," Kuria noted.

The programme seeks to expand opportunities as a means of boosting intra-African trade and promoting economic development on the continent.

Kuria noted that the Guided Trade Initiative can help to reduce the cost of doing business by simplifying customs procedures and providing technical assistance to businesses.

"Guided Trade Initiative helped to increase trade by creating a more predictable and stable trading environment. It can help to promote economic development by creating jobs and stimulating investment," Kuria noted.

It was noted Guided Trade Initiative is a new initiative, and it is too early to tell what its full impact will be. However, it has the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of intra-African trade and to the economic development of the continent.

 Azali Assoumani
Comoros President Azali Assoumani (Left) President William Ruto (centre) and Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria (Right)during the African Private Sector Dialogue on AfCFTA on March 29, 2023.