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Kenya, Ivory Coast named rising stars of global trade

Kenya has been ranked position three in the top 20 markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth.  

According to the Trade20 Index report released by Standard Chartered Bank, the market’s impressive potential for trade growth suggests that the government’s ‘Big Four’ development initiative – focusing on boosting manufacturing activities, achieving universal health coverage, improving food security and supporting the construction of affordable housing – is driving Kenya’s increased trade growth potential.  

“Kenya’s trade readiness score is particularly high, due to infrastructure and ease of doing business improvements that far surpass most other African nations in our index. The administration has been successful in attracting external investment for substantial infrastructure development, including renewable energy projects. Improvements in Kenya’s ease of doing business ranking over the last few years have been driven by governmental reforms, including in the areas of starting a business, access to electricity, registering property and protecting minority investors,” said Standard Chartered Kenya CEO, Kariuki Ngari.  

Côte d'Ivoire is the market that has most rapidly improved its trade growth potential over the past decade, according to the new research. 

The Trade20 Index determines each market’s trade growth potential by analysing changes within the last decade across a wide range of variables, grouped into three equally-weighted pillars: economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity. 

The study examines 66 markets around the world. It finds that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their trade potential, African economies are making particularly strong progress from a relatively low starting point.  

Kenya is consolidating its position as the trading hub of East Africa, while Côte d'Ivoire is cementing its position as a West African trading hub. Ghana also performs well in the index, placing just outside the top 10.  

According to the key findings of the Trade20 index, Côte d'Ivoire and Kenya have significantly improved their trade readiness, demonstrating that investments in infrastructure and business environment improvements are paying off.

Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana also fare well for economic dynamism, with Côte d'Ivoire enjoying robust GDP and export growth, and Ghana seeing an influx of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

“Home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Africa has the potential to become a much bigger player on the global trade stage. Already connected with the trading powers in Asia, particularly China, through the Belt & Road Initiative, and with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, we see numerous growth opportunities for trade and investment in the years ahead. Additionally, the growing young, digitally-savvy population and an increasing female workforce will aid in the continent’s economic transformation,” said Philip Panaino, Transaction Banking Head, West, Standard Chartered Bank.

Trade20 Index examines 12 metrics across 66 global markets – the major global economies plus the major economies in each region – to reveal the 20 economies that are most rapidly improving their potential for trade growth. 

While most traditional trade indices are based on a market’s present performance, the Trade20 index captures changes over time to reveal the markets that have seen the most improvement within the last decade.