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The Futures Report: Making the AfCFTA Work for Women and Youth is a groundbreaking UNDP Flagship Initiative produced in collaboration with the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA Secretariat.) It tells the story of the promise of the AfCFTA through the voices of women and youth producing goods and services in Africa. The high – level launch event convenes diverse stakeholders and partners to dialogue on how to support women and youth – owned enterprises to maximize the benefits in the AfCFTA as a means for attaining sustainable development.

On 1st January 2021 trading under the AfCFTA was officially launched. This was a historic milestone for the continent as Africa will really start to trade with Africa. To mark the occasion, a ceremony including speeches by some African Union Heads of State and Government, representatives of development partners and the private sector as well as showing of videos on different aspects of trade and development in Africa was organised by the AfCFTA Secretariat.

Currently, the percentage of trade that African countries do with each other is a mere 16 - 18%. The bulk of the continent’s trade is with the rest of the world, and most African exports are in raw materials including extractive commodities like oil, gas and minerals which are vulnerable to market volatility.

Between 2005 and 2015, almost half of all impact capital disbursed in East Africa had found its way into the Kenyan market, representing more than US$650 million of private impact investment capital and more than US$3.6 billion of DFI capital.

Economically, Kenya has seen GDP growth has averaged between four and six per cent annually since 2011 and there is little indication of decline: the World Bank estimates that the annual growth in 2019 will be 6.1 per cent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kenya increased to USD 672 million in 2017 , representing a 71 per cent increase from 2016. This is particularly striking considering the 22 per cent drop in FDI in Africa as a whole and a 23 per cent fall-off globally.  Read more..

The African economy has gathered momentum over the years, with an estimated increase of 3.8% of the real output growth in 2017. As the largest economies gradually strengthen, the 2018/2019 performance should reach 4.1% according to the African Development Bank.

This economic growth and sustainable development has largely been contributed by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In Kenya for instance, SMEs contribute approximately 40% to the GDP and employ over half of the country’s workforce.

Yet, becoming a profitable SME in the continent is never a smooth sail for many. Read more..

Mobile payments have for the first time hit Sh2 trillion, reflecting vibrant growth in Kenya’s e-commerce sector. The Q1 2018/19 first report released yesterday by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) covering July-September shows that 730.2 million transactions valued at Sh2.027 trillion were recorded up from 611.3 million transactions valued at Sh1.9 billion the previous quarter.

Mobile commerce transactions accounted for 76 per cent of total payment value, accounting for Sh1.55 trillion from 526.9 deals, 8.8 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter.

Person-to-person transfers were valued to Sh718.2 billion, with active mobile money transfer subscription growing by 120,000 users to 29.79 million from 29.67 million by end of 2017. Number of registered mobile money agents grew slightly during the quarter under review to 218,495 from 206,940 in June.


Senior representatives in accounting and insurance from 11 countries participated in this event to exchange practices and formulate actions with the aim of expanding financial literacy and access to affordable financial solutions by Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Participants drew attention to the needs of financial literacy training for business owners and the role of mobile technologies in driving innovation and affordability for financial services.

Meanwhile, they encouraged UNCTAD's efforts in supporting the region to generate an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive.

Mr. Daniel Owoko, Chief of Staff at UNCTAD, on behalf of the Secretary General, highlighted MSMEs' key role in promoting economic development and tackling youth unemployment.

He stated that, "access to financial services in affordable conditions could be a determining factor in accelerating their contribution to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union's Agenda 2063". He also underlined the importance of strengthening regional collaboration to address these challenges and UNCTAD's commitment to facilitate dialogue. READ MORE

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