TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US unveils Sh6.7 billion plan for regional trade

Friday, 17 April 2009

Source: The Standard (Kenya)

The US has unveiled a US$84 million (Sh6.72 billion) blueprint to boost economic growth and food security in east and central Africa.

The four-year Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Programme (Compete) aims to contribute to increased trade and competitiveness in the region and global markets by reducing barriers to trade, improving market access and furthering regional integration.

Africa contributes only three per cent to the value of goods traded globally but the world’s economic superpower hopes to reverse this upsetting trend by facilitating and expanding trade in the region with a view of realising at least 30 per cent growth in the value and volume of international and intra-regional trade for targeted value chains and to increase market share by 20 per cent.

Measures outlined in the new plan include reducing the time and cost of transporting goods along selected transport corridors by 15 per cent and expanding the regional bond guarantee scheme and the electronic customs information and clearance systems, which have reduced clearance times at selected borders by 30 per cent.

US will also help customs units meet World Customs Organisation standards by streamlining customs procedures via one-stop border offices and increasing use of Information Communication Technology.

Negative impact

Mr Michael Ranneberger, the US ambassador to Kenya, said Kenya must work extra hard to make itself more competitive through implementation of political and economic reforms if it has to take advantage of this programme as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). "Without implementation of the reforms, the Government will not be a credible interlocutor with foreign traders and investors," he said.

"Those seeking to trade and invest want to know that they are doing so in a stable and progressive environment."

He said the launching of Compete reflected the importance of enhancing competitiveness of African economies in trade and for investment at a time when the continent was feeling the negative impact of the global financial crisis.

Ranneberger said the plan would be implemented by the US Agency for International Development in order to help African firms access US markets through improved understanding of Agoa requirements and adoption of international quality standards.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of COMESA's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.