Business highlights – March 22, 2018

Business highlights – March 22, 2018

Kenya signs African Continental Free Trade Area agreement

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the landmark agreement creating African Continental Free Trade Area, bringing 54 nations under one common market. The agreement that is expected to be signed by all member states of the African Union will create a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. Moreover, Africa’s population is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, according to the African Union. African heads of state agreed to establish a continental free trade area in 2012 and started negotiations in 2015.

Food imports up 58% due to poor weather in 2017

Poor weather prompted Kenya’s government to implement subsidies and waivers of import duties between mid-May and December to smoothen purchase of such food as maize, milk powder and sugar from abroad to meet demand and ease spiking prices followed a biting drought. The result was that Kenya’s food imports jumped 58.33% in January compared to a year earlier, reflecting last year’s deficit in production as a result of poor rainfall. The country’s food import bill jumped to Ksh20.9 billion from Ksh13.2 billion in January 2017, fresh data by the Kenya national Bureau of Statistics shows.

Competition Authority recognised for financial inclusion

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markers Authority (CMA) were co-winners at this year’s Competition Advocacy Contest for their role in “promoting structural reforms in key sectors.” The CAK was also recognised for ensuring that financial service providers, including commercial banks, disclose the cost of their mobile services prior to a transaction taking place.

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