TRADE

Kenya, Pakistan mull direct flights to improve trade ties

Currently, Pakistan is the fourth-leading destination for Kenya’s goods after Uganda, Tanzania and Britain.

In Summary
  • The two countries are also negotiating a linkage between the Port of Mombasa and Karachi that will see cargo ships take less than 14 days.
  • Pakistan has been a top export market for Kenya, buying at least 40 per cent of Kenya's tea.

Kenya and Pakistan are working on direct flights among other measures to open up trade opportunities.

In an interview with the Star, Pakistan's Foreign Affairs minister Shah Mahmood Quresh who is Nairobi for the ongoing first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference said his country will soon invite Kenya to commence plans for direct flights.

''I have come with an invitation for President Uhuru Kenyatta to come to Pakistan with his delegation so that we start plans for direct flights, port linkages among other incentives to boost trade between the two countries,'' Qureshi said.

 
 
 

The inaugural Pakistan-Africa Trade meet has brought 100 top Pakistani business leaders to identify investment opportunities in the region.

The two countries are negotiating a linkage between the Port of Mombasa and Karachi that will see cargo ships take less than 14 days. This is expected to help businesses cut on time wastage and reduce export/import costs.

It currently takes a cargo ship almost 20 days to dock in Mombasa or Karachi.

He also indicated that his country will soon reciprocate Kenya's good will to issue visa on arrival for Pakistanis arriving in Nairobi to ease movement of Kenyans seeking opportunities in the Asian nation. Kenya allows visa on arrival for Pakistanis in 2015.

Export market for Kenya

Pakistan has been a top export market for Kenya, buying at least 40 per cent of Kenya's tea.

 
 
 

Even so, data from the Central Bank of Kenya show the value of exports to the world’s sixth most populous country registered the largest drop of 38.94 per cent to Sh8.75 billion compared to the same period in 2018, with tea exports slipping almost 40 per cent.

According to the Tea Directorate, Pakistan purchased 15.2 million kilos of the tea worth Sh3.5 billion representing 32 percent of the total volume that was exported during the period.

Currently, Pakistan is the fourth-leading destination for Kenya’s goods after Uganda, Tanzania and Britain.

The two countries have tax treaties that cut on trade transfer costs, easing the burden especially on food imports. For instance, 80 per cent of the rice imported into Kenya comes from Pakistan.

The South Asian country also sell pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment, textiles, farm machinery and sports goods to Kenya at favourable terms.

Pakistan's top diplomat said investors from his country are expected to explore investment opportunities focused on President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agendas of affordable housing, universal health, food security and manufacturing.