EU and Kenya Enter into Historic Economic Partnership Agreement

On 18 December 2023, EU and Kenya inked an Economic Partnership Agreement (#EPA) to boost trade and investment. The Signing Ceremony for the Free Trade Agreement (#FTA) took place in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenyan President William Ruto and EC President Ursula von der Leyen witnessed the signing of the instrument. Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry Rebecca Miano and EU Ambassador Henriette Gieger signed the Agreement.

“So the door is open, tariff-free, quota-free. The agreement will also contribute to sustainable and fair economic growth, bringing new opportunities for companies, to the benefit of both our people. It includes the strongest social and climate commitments of any EU trade deal with an African country.”

EC President Ursula von der Leyen

The EU is Kenya’s top export market and 2nd largest trading partner with a bilateral trade volume totaling EUR 3.3 billion in 2022. Going beyond a purely commercial e, the EPA includes clauses to promote sustainable development, enhance environmental protection and support the fight against #ClimateChange, protect workers’ right and enhance gender equality.

EU-Kenya EPA Signing in Nairobi

President Von Der Leyen highlighted the Agreement made Kenya a ‘trendsetter’ in the region, and the EU is open to consider similar partnerships with other countries in the East Africa Community, which includes Burundi, DR Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan.

“The variety of goods traded between the EU and Kenya underscores the potential of this bilateral trade framework to deliver trade and investments of volumes, diversity and promise we can only conclude that although today represents a moment of monumental promise, it is also the beginning of a historic partnership for historic transformation.”

Kenyan President William Ruto

President Ruto underscored that preferential access to a premium market such as the EU is a ‘strong signal to the world’ that goods made in Kenya can meet the most stringent of requirements and are world class. The Agreement unlocks the 27-state common European market, worth EUR 16 trillion of imports annually, to Kenyan goods.

The EPA with Kenya represents a new vision of North-South partnership in that it takes into consideration #SDG. It also takes into consideration the current development stage of Kenya and makes allowance for extending the period before Kenya fully opens its market by providing safeguards to infant industries and strategic sectors such as #FoodSecurity.