The European Union (EU) and Kenya have signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to enhance trade in goods, increase investment flows and contribute to economic growth
The EU has suggested this is the most “ambitious trade deal ever signed” by it with a developing country when it comes to sustainability provisions such as climate and environmental protection, labour rights and also gender equality.
“Kenya is a key partner for the European Union in Africa,” remarked president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “The new Economic Partnership Agreement will boost bilateral trade even further, support investments and create good jobs in Kenya. This 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.”
Already, the East African country is the EU’s first export destination and second largest trading partner. There was a total of EU€3.3bn (approx. US$3.6bn) in bilateral trade recorded in 2022, representing a 27% increase compared to 2018. As such, the new EPA is expected to fully open the EU market to Kenyan products and will generate even more opportunities for businesses and exporters in the country. At the same time, it will also reportedly serve to encourage EU investment in Kenya due to increased legal certainty and stability.
Now signed, the EPA will be sent to the European Parliament for consent before entering into force.
"This is a historic agreement: Kenya is the economic hub of East Africa and a key ally in the fight against climate change. The agreement will unlock new areas of cooperation and mutual benefit for our workers, businesses and traders. And it puts in the spotlight our shared commitment to sustainable development, including labour rights, the environment and climate action. We now look forward to turning this deepened cooperation into meaningful action on the ground." said Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president and commissioner for trade.