Regional Markets

AfCFTA’s successful implementation can boost trade and promote Africa’s economic recovery and growth. The AfCFTA is the world’s most extensive free trade area in terms of size and number of nations, with a combined GDP of around $3.4 trillion.
Increased integration would improve incomes, generate employment, stimulate investment, and make establishing regional supply chains easier. In comparison to Africa’s external trade, intra-African trade remains tiny. In 2020, just 18 per cent of exports went to other African nations.

Lake Victoria’s fisheries support more than 3 million livelihoods and bring in US$500 million in revenues annually.

Nile Perch is the main fish caught in Lake Victoria. Fish maw – the air sack that aids the Nile Perch in floating and a Chinese delicacy – has been a major export source. Statistics from the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture indicate an increase in fish maw exports earning from US$27m in 2015, to US$31m in 2016, US$48m in 2017 and US$52m in 2018. These earnings exclude the earnings from Nile Perch and its eggs.

However, the lake has been invaded by water hyacinth – the floating, green mats of waxy leaves with purple blossoms – depriving the waters below of oxygen which makes it hard for aquatic life to survive.

That, plus overfishing which occurs when fishermen use undersized nets that catch fish before they reach maturity, rapid population growth, and pollution by wastewater, agro-pesticides and fertilisers threaten the future of fishing in Lake Victoria.

A statement posted by Equity Bank on its website indicated the plan hopes to revive the economy in the continent following the COVID-19 pandemic that halted operations in different sectors leading to the loss of jobs.

In this, AfCFTA and Equity will work on the private sector economic recovery and resilience stimulus plan where the lender has seeded with a $ 6 billion (Sh 678 billion) fund focusing on food and agriculture, extractives, manufacturing and logistics, trade and investments, social impact, health and environmental investments.

Equity plans to finance over five million micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) and 25 million vulnerable households by 2025 to support the creation of 50 million jobs.

The EAC Trade & Investment Report (2020) shows EAC exports globally stood at US$16.2 billion in 2020 while imports at US$35.6 billion, registering a negative trade balance of US$19.4 billion.

Agayo Ogambi from the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa said Mombasa port throughput declined by 0.9 per cent in 2020. A total of 34.13 million tonnes of cargo were handled in 2020, which is 1.8 million tonnes shy of the target of 35.90 million tonnes in 2019.

Containerized cargo declined by 4 per cent from 1.4 tonnes (2019) to 1.35 million tonnes (2020).

Ogambi called upon government agencies to render services that are commensurate to the fees charged, as outlined in Article 6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.