Effects of COVID-19 on International Trade and Post-Recovery Strategies in Kenya

- 8 July 2021

Trade topics: Economic Resilience, COVID 19, Non-tariff Barriers, Regional Integration, AfCFTA, EAC

The main objective of this project is to analyse the effects of COVID-19 on international trade and recommend post-recovery strategies in Kenya taking into consideration the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area. The research is particularly important for policymakers since Kenya has had the 8th highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Africa, respectively, as of 9th May 2021. The country is also among the top 10 economies in Africa by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and total trade (exports and imports). The project will thus assess the effect of the virus on one of Africa’s most active economies by trade by estimating the effect of the virus on Kenya’s trade in the East African Community (EAC) and on relevant value chains. It will also inform trade policy on the safety of borders/ports for effective trade in goods and services in the EAC. These countries have had to impose non-tariff barriers, including the closure of borders, ports, and airports to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has disrupted GVCs further in addition to problems caused by increased costs that traders have to meet in order to comply with health and safety requirements and slow border clearance procedures. The research produced will inform the trade policies that both Kenya and its EAC trading partners can take going forward. Ultimately, through the outputs generated, multiple outreach events, and new/updated courses developed, this project shall contribute towards Kenya’s and EAC’s trade policy in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with the primary outcome being safety of borders/ports for effective trade in goods and services in the East African Community (EAC) region.