Kenya targets China in new trade drive

Kenya’s public debt is about $50 billion, according to official data; 72% of this is owed to China. The Asian country has become a major financier of key infrastructure projects in the East African country, but Kenya wants more from their relationship; it plans to triple agricultural exports to China in four years.

“We have to devise ways to penetrate the export markets and expand our foreign trade footprint, especially in Asia,” Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kenya hopes to achieve this through its Integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy, a new plan that seeks to grow Kenya’s export as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) from about eight percent in 2017 to 25 percent by 2022.


“The strategy has been developed through consultation with the private sector and those are the sectors where Kenya has a competitive advantage to grow wealth and this is a result of analysis of data,” Business Daily quoted the Chief Executive Officer of State-owned Export Promotion Council Peter Biwott to have said in an interview.

Kenya has appointed new envoys appointed to five Asian nations to push the new strategy, tasking them with primarily growing and expanding the market for coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.

China and India currently control about 40 percent of Kenyan imports, with the two countries only receiving four percent of Kenyan exports. The East African nation is counting on the new strategy to help it address the trade deficit.