Britain commits £21m for Kenya’s revamped Export Strategy
By Rolex Owino
Britain has announced support for Kenya’s foreign trade and export strategy through a £21 million funding round -via Trade Mark East Africa, with an objective of growing Kenya’s external export account.
The Export Development and Promotion Strategy that was unveiled by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, along with several other recent initiatives in the trade sector – is seen as an important step in unlocking Kenya’s trade potential, sustaining growth and creating jobs in line with Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda.
Ms. Susie Kitchens, the deputy British High Commissioner to Kenya noted that the UK, along with other international partners, has been working closely with the Government of Kenya to explore opportunities to implement the new strategy.
“Kenya remains a key trade partner for the UK, with total UK/Kenya trade at approximately 133 billion Kenya Shillings (£1 billion) annually. Our trading relationship with Kenya is important to our Ministers: both the International Development Secretary and Trade Minister have visited Kenya this year to underline that,” noted Kitchens.
“Over half the tea we drink in the UK comes from Kenya, Ms. Kitchens added,” And as a nation of tea drinkers, we are keen to keep it that way. Similarly Kenyan roses dominate the UK market, and make many Brits happy on Valentine’s Day.”
She said her country was keen to maintain the trading relationship with Kenya, even after the UK exists the European Union after the full implementation of Brexit statutes. “The Implementation Period will enable Kenyan exports to continue to enter the UK without any tariffs or quotas, protecting markets for those important flowers, tea and other exports. And we are working with Kenya to maintain trading arrangements under a range of negotiating scenarios with the EU. We want to provide the strongest possible platform to deepen our trade relationships in the future,” noted Kitchens.
Britain has been losing a share of Kenyan produce as Kenya tilts its focus to other players, mainly drawn from Asian markets, a situation that concerns Ms. Kitchens. She notes that for Kenya to maintain a share of the UK market, it needs to diversify on its product range.
“Recent analysis shows that Kenya’s share of the UK market has been declining since 2008. Fortunately, this is not because my compatriots are drinking any less tea or giving any less thought to Valentine’s Day. Instead it is mainly due to competition from Kenya’s peers and neighbours, who produce and export similar products to the UK.”
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.