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Continent of Africa in digital project coming out of phone

In the IOE&IT Daily Update’s latest round-up of African trade news, we cover a new single trade window for digital services, the recent Kenyan-EU trade deal and a new series of initiatives aimed to increase the continent’s trade capacity.

African trade portal

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has launched a single electronic trade window bringing together key parts of Africa’s digital ecosystem. It is part of a wider plan to support and promote the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Named the Africa Trade Gateway (ATG), it gives traders access to five digital platforms on topics such as due diligence, payments and e-commerce.

“Each one of our digital interventions is designed to address clearly identified challenges and barriers for those seeking to engage in African trade and investment,” said Kanayo Awani, executive vice president of the Intra-African Trade Bank.

AfCFTA was signed in 2018 to create a single African market for goods and services, and digitalisation is vital to this process, reports Global Trade Review.

Trade insurance for Africa

Afreximbank has also launched an insurance management offering (Afrexinsure) to develop the domestic insurance markets in Nigeria and other African countries.

The bank said the product was designed to create a comprehensive offering of trade solutions that align with African needs and would ensure premiums and capital remain on the continent.

According to a press release, insurance penetration is relatively low in Africa compared to other continents.

The project will not only look to reverse this trend, but is also hoped to have a similar effect in states in the Caribbean.

Kenya-EU deal

The EU has agreed a trade deal with Kenya, the bloc’s first with an African nation since Ghana in 2016.

Kenya will gain duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for all its exports – including coffee, flowers and minerals – reports the FT.

The Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) will see Kenya gradually open its market to more EU imports. The Kenyan government has also agreed to commitments on environmental protection, climate and labour rights.

Some trade organisations are pushing for Kenya to rescind the agreement with the EU, reports the African Post. According to the BBC, Kenya had signed a deal with the EU in 2016 but most of the other members of the East African Community (EAC), such as Rwanda and Burundi, have refused to sign it.

Backers of the deal claim that Kenya had to strike its own agreement or risk losing access to the EU, as it is the only EAC member that falls in the category of “emerging” country while the rest fall into the “least developed” grouping, whose exports could continue to enter the EU market without a deal.

$700m borders plan

Trade facilitation body, TradeMark Africa (TMA), has announced a seven-year $700m plan to support further initiatives aimed at making trade more inclusive, green and digital.

TMA wants to reduce the costs of trade and increase its efficiency. The eventual goal is to boost Africa’s share of exports as a percentage of global trade by 4% and the value of its exports from $500bn to $650bn.

The scheme purportedly supports implementation of AfCFTA, as well as the decarbonisation of logistics, and promotes automated border systems.

TMA says it will deepen its work on select corridors in the continent with a focus on reducing the time and cost it takes to trade across borders by 15%.