IMPROVEMENT

Kenya’s exports grow, defy Covid hurdles

The growth is attributed to the country’s effort to decrease its dependence on volatile agricultural markets

In Summary
  • Total exports stood at Sh490billion in the period compared to Sh424billion recorded during the same period in 2020, a 15.5 per cent increase.
  • Some of the top export markets for Kenyan products include Uganda, Netherlands, USA, UK, Pakistan, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates.
Packaged tea for export at warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE
Packaged tea for export at warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE

Kenya's trade performance is on a rebound recording a Sh66billion growth in exports for the months of January to August 2021.

Total exports stood at Sh490billion in the period compared to Sh424 billion recorded during the same period in 2020, a 15.5 per cent increase.

The growth is attributed to the country’s effort to decrease its dependence on volatile agricultural markets.

The country has diversified its exports to include horticultural products, clothing, cement, soda ash, and fluorspar aside from agricultural products such as tea which have been the country's key exports.

“The growth of exports shows Kenya is a resilient trade partner while the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in our export destination markets has also been a blessing,” said Wilfred Marube, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency.

Kenya's top export markets include Uganda, Netherlands, USA, UK, Pakistan, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and  Egypt.

Key exports include horticulture, tea, apparel and clothing, coffee, mineral ore, petroleum oil products, animal and vegetable fats, machinery and parts, iron and steel products as well as pharmaceuticals.

Uganda continued to be the country's largest exporter accounting for Sh14 billion of exports, Netherlands was second at Sh13 billion, D.R.C at Sh10billion while the US came fourth accounting for Sh7 billion.

Tanzania accounted for Sh5 billion, China (Sh4billion), India (Sh4billion), Ethiopia (Sh 3 billion), Zambia (Sh 3 billion), and Egypt (Sh2 billion).

Meanwhile, the US was the country that grew their interest the most in Kenyan products with the value of exports to the US growing by Sh3billion.

Exports to Ethiopia grew by Sh2.5 billion, Tanzania (Sh2.3 billion), Netherlands (Sh2 billion), Japan (Sh1.6billion), U.A.E. (Sh1.5billion) and China (Sh1.4 billion).

With the ongoing six months Expo happening in Dubai, Kenya is banking on the opportunities presented at the expo to increase its exports to the UAE and the entire Gulf Cooperation Council region.

The country is among 192 countries participating in the expo and is showcasing its best in tourism, trade, investments, culture, sports among other key aspects.

“This expo is our gateway to grow our exports not only to GCC region but to the rest of the world,” said Marube.

The agency is also keen to embrace digital platforms in promoting Kenya exports and linking Kenyan exporters to international markets