STRATEGY

Kenya to up value addition to bridge trade gap with Egypt

It is the third largest buyer of Kenya’s goods after Uganda and Tanzania.

In Summary

•Last year, Kenya exported goods worth $80 million (Sh9.1 billion) to Egypt compared to $184 million (Sh20.9 billion) by the northern Africa.

•The value of trade between Kenya and Egypt has grown 43.98 per cent to Sh61.91 billion between 2014 and last year, with the latter benefiting more.

Packaged tea for export at warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE
Packaged tea for export at warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE

Kenya is banking on agricultural produce value additional to bridge the trade deficit with Egypt.

Speaking yesterday at the opening of the Nile Food Africa Trade Initiative in Nairobi, the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chief executive Samuel Mutonda commended Egypt for opening it's market to Kenyan small traders, especially in the food sub sector.

''Tea and tobacco have been Kenya's dominant exports to Egypt. Value addition on other raw products will go along way in achieving at least 50:45 trade version," Mutonda said.

Last year, the value of Kenya's  exports to Egypt stood at $80million (Sh9.1 billion) compared to $184 million (Sh20.9 billion) worth of imports from the Mediterranean country.

The value of trade between Kenya and Egypt has grown 43.98 per cent to Sh61.91 billion between 2014 and last year, with the latter being the major beneficiary. 

Official trade statistics shows the value of exports to Egypt —largely tobacco, paper and paperboard, fruits and vegetable textile fibres — grew at a modest 8.67 percent to Sh18.98 billion between 2014 and 2020.

Imports from Egypt — including vegetable and animal products, minerals, chemicals, plastics and rubber — jumped 68.13 per cent to Sh42.93 billion.

Egypt is Kenya’s second source market for imports in Africa after South Africa and third largest buyer of Kenya’s goods after Uganda and Tanzania.

To bolster trade relations, KNCCI has started talks to revive a framework for strengthening bilateral trade and investment cooperation with Egypt, largely in financial technology and processing of farm produce.

Last year, Kenya's trade lobby signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce and the Cairo Chamber of Commerce aimed at promoting investments in targeted sectors.

These include opportunities in financial technology such as M-Pesa, agro-processing of farm produce such as coffee, fruits, fish and meat as construction of power generation plants.

Egyptian ambassador to Kenya Khaled Al-Abyad asked Kenyan business to create partnership with 21 Egyptian manufacturing companies to grow trade between the two countries.

''This trade fair is part of our campaign to improve business ties with Africa. The fact that we have started the year long journey in Kenya speaks volumes to our bilateral ties,'' Al-Abyad said.