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7 Jul 2020

Econews Africa & others

NGOs say proposed United States-Kenya Free Trade Agreement may exacerbate poverty, food insecurity & gender inequality in Kenya

"Opposition to the Proposed US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement"

We are writing to you today to strongly urge you to consider intervening to convince Kenya to abandon or, at the very least, postpone the United States-Kenya Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations to a later date. The agreement portends the danger of crippling sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and disintegrating of the Kenyan economy. In agriculture, for example, the US seeks to secure comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods, promote greater regulatory compatibility with US rules and establish specific commitments for trade in products developed through agricultural biotechnology. The likely outcome is that the agreement will likely negatively impact food security, as the ability of local farmers to produce will be limited by stiff competition from subsidized products from the US market. Further, it may limit the ability of the Kenyan government to regulate risky pesticides or agricultural technologies or even shelter local production from volatile prices or supplies. 

The Kenyan domestic market is characterized with very high informality (Annex Table 1). Opening up the micro small and medium enterprises to external competition from American businesses, will not only worsen the performance of the MSMEs which currently contribute at least 28% of GDP, but will also worsen the gender disparities, given the low ownership of women owned enterprises.