Exports to Africa remain stagnant despite country’s efforts to improve market share

exports being loaded on to a plane

Kenya’s exports to African nations registered a 0.1 per cent growth in the first four months of 2019 despite efforts to expand the country’s products in the market, data by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has revealed.

In 2018, the government’s Exports Promotion Council (EPC) vowed to implement an ambitious plan to grow market access for Kenyan made goods but statistics from KRA show that the process hasn’t been as successful as initially anticipated.

The statistics by KRA have revealed that Kenya’s exports to Africa amounted to Ksh. 71.51 billion in the period under review compared to Ksh. 71.44 billion registered in a similar period last year. Uganda remains the largest destination for Kenyan goods in Africa with the neighbouring nation importing goods worth Ksh. 20.67 billion in the period under review. Imports from Africa in contrast dipped by 6.97 per cent to Ksh. 69.72 billion in the first months of 2019.

According to a news report by Business Daily, the country’s struggle to increase the market share of its products across the African continent is as a result of import substitution policy amid declining industrial competitiveness.

The Business Daily similarly reports that the country’s earnings from exports could increase in coming years because of the push to establish the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) trading bloc that seeks to abolish tariff and non-tariff barriers among African nations. 

Establishment of the trade bloc has been sanctioned by 52 out of 55 African countries and should the institution be established, it will allow for free movement of goods, services and labour between African countries. This will enable local industries to operate at full capacity because markets will be expanded into other African nations.

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