Kenya’s exports jumped by 3.2% year on year to register at Ksh613 billion in 2018.
Products moving out of the country were worth Ksh594 billion the previous year.
The Ministry of Trade said that bump in exports worth is due to Kenya’s efforts to grow high quality and quantity exportable products.
Imports were valued at Ksh1.76 trillion in 2018, and this saw the country’s balance of trade deficit widen.
“The balance of trade deficit rose by 1.4% from Kshs.1.13 trillion in 2017 to Kshs. 1.15 trillion in 2018,” said Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on June 19.
CS Munya however said that programs were being implemented to ensure a faster export growth thus bridging the gap with imports.
Neighbouring country Uganda took the most products from Kenya in 2018, importing goods worth around Ksh63 billion.
At 10.1%, Uganda was ahead of a top six comprising of Pakistan (9.7%), USA (7.7%), Netherlands (7.6%), UK (6.6%) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) (5.7%).
[Read: Chris Kirubi: How to learn from your failures and succeed]
Among the top 25 Kenya exports destination countries, ten are from Africa. They are; Uganda, Egypt, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, DRC, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi.
In total, exports to Africa accounted for 35% of total exports in 2018.
“Our target currently is pursuing country specific strategies in growing our exports, for example, Kenya seeks to grow exports to the USA, Africa Continent, India and China by double digits,” CS Munya said.
In 2018, exports to China increased by Ksh2 billion after what the Ministry said was an aggressive promotion activity in China.
The trade ministry also said that strategies of expanding export growth include the creation of a Commodity Exchange (COMEX) in Kenya to enhance economic development as well as establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and expanding of the Export Processing Zones.
According to CS Munya, the country also developed an AGOA Exports Strategy that will expand Kenya’s exports to the USA by 10% annually.
“Overall, AGOA Kenya exports increased to Kshs.68 billion having Kenya enjoy a trade surplus of Kshs.29 billion that is why Kenya is scaling up trade with the USA as one of our leading trading partners,” he said.
The EPZ exports grew in 2018 by 26%, amounting to Ksh42 billion, with 46,248 jobs being created.
EPZ Capital investments increased by 3.6%, amounting to a total of Ksh17 billion.
According to data from the worldstopexports, coffee, tea and spices rank as the highest, earning the country Ksh142.6 billion.
Kenya’s Top Exports
- Coffee, tea, spices – Ksh142.6 billion (27.4% of total exports)
- Live trees, plants, cut flowers – Ksh83.2 billion (16.1%)
- Vegetables – Ksh30.1 billion (5.3%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet) – Ksh26.5 billion (5.1%)
- Fruits, nuts – Ksh25.1 billion (4.9%)
- Ores, slag, ash – Ksh19.8 billion (3.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories : Ksh17.5 billion (3.4%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations -Ksh12.3 billion (2.4%)
- Gems, precious metals – Ksh8.3 billion (1.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals – Ksh8.1 billion (1.6%)
[See Also: Kenya’s history at AFCON: Talking points]