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5 ways Kenyans will benefit from Ruto's new deal with European Union

The Kenya-EU agreement took a record 7 months to be concluded after taking more than 9 years before President Ruto took over.

President William Ruto presided over the signing of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement briefing, at State House, Nairobi on June 19. 2023

President William Ruto presided over the signing of the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs), setting the stage for expanded trade opportunities and enhanced market access for Kenyan exports to Europe.

This landmark agreement paves the way for tariff-free and quota-free access to the European Union, which is home to approximately 500 million people.

President William Ruto expressed optimism about the deal, emphasizing its potential to create jobs, boost earnings, and drive sustainable economic growth.

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Speaking at the Kenya-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement signing ceremony held at State House in Nairobi, President Ruto hailed the agreement as a substantial step forward for the country.

The deal which took the last seven months to finalise, had been stuck for nearly 10 years with past administrations.

He highlighted the broader implications of increased trade with the EU, emphasizing its positive impact on ordinary Kenyans. The deal not only promises an expanded market but also opens up lucrative opportunities for investment and manufacturing.

President Ruto encouraged European companies that import goods from Kenya to consider investing in value addition and exporting finished, value-added products.

By doing so, these companies can capitalize on Kenya's potential as a global player in export-led manufacturing and services.

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The agreement also positions Kenya as a natural hub for European firms seeking access to markets in the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Job Creation:

The expanded market access provided by the EPAs will lead to increased demand for Kenyan products and services in Europe.

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This surge in demand is likely to create new job opportunities, especially in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and services.

As European companies invest in value addition and seek to export finished products from Kenya, there will be a need for skilled labour, which can drive employment rates upwards.

Higher Earnings

With the removal of trade barriers, Kenyan exporters can expect a boost in their earnings.

The EPAs enable Kenyan businesses to compete more effectively in the European market, as they can now export their goods and services without facing prohibitive tariffs.

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This increased export potential translates into higher revenues for businesses, which can then be reinvested to expand operations, improve infrastructure, and provide better wages for workers.

Sustainable Economic Growth

The trade deal's emphasis on investment and manufacturing holds the potential for sustainable economic growth in Kenya.

As European firms recognize Kenya's strategic location and preferential access to regional markets, they are likely to set up operations within the country.

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This influx of foreign direct investment can stimulate local industries, boost productivity, and foster innovation.

Furthermore, the EPAs position Kenya as a regional hub for European companies seeking to expand their presence in East Africa and beyond, creating additional business opportunities and contributing to long-term economic growth.

Improved Livelihoods

The positive economic impact of the trade deal will have a ripple effect on the lives of ordinary Kenyans.

Job creation and higher earnings translate into improved living standards, increased disposable income, and enhanced access to goods and services.

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This, in turn, can lead to improvements in education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and overall quality of life.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

The EPAs provide an avenue for Kenyan entrepreneurs to explore new business opportunities in the European market.

With reduced trade barriers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the chance to expand their operations and access a larger customer base.

This trade facilitation can nurture a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and competitiveness, driving economic diversification and creating a favourable environment for business growth.

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