Kenya’s Bet on Asia Flops as Exports Dip 26pc

Kenya’s plan to aggressively expand the market for its agricultural produce in populous Far East Asian countries appeared to have started on a wrong footing. FILE PHOTO | NMG

January 8, 2020//-Kenya’s plan to aggressively expand the market for its agricultural produce in populous Far East Asian countries appeared to have started on a wrong footing in the first year with earnings from that region falling by more than a quarter.

Exports earnings from the region — which, together with Africa, forms the focus for the country’s exports expansion strategy — dipped by Sh23.91 billion, or 26.37 percent, in the first nine months of the year, statistics show.

Far East Asia, which comprises populous countries such as China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia and South Korea is a major driver of global trade with countries scrambling for a piece of the market.

The value of exports to East Asia amounted to Sh66.72 billion in the January-September 2019 period compared to Sh90.67 billion in the same period a year earlier, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows, shining spotlight on the country’s ‘Looking East’ exports strategy.

During the launch of Integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy on July 31, 2018, Nairobi made it clear that the region was at the core of achieving the goal of growing the share of exports to the gross domestic product from about six percent last year to 25 percent by 2022.

At the time, Deputy President William Ruto said the five envoys Nairobi had posted to East Asia had been tasked with primarily growing and expanding the market for farm produce such as tea, coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Earnings from exports to the region for the nine months were partly pulled down by Pakistan whose orders, largely tea, fell Sh13.93 billion, or 29.96 percent, to Sh32.57 billion largely on account of reduced exports of tea amid a drop in global prices of tea.

Kenya’s aggressive trade promotional and marketing campaigns in China, however, appeared to have paid off with income from exports climbing Sh4.02 billion, or 58.88 percent, to nearly Sh10.85 billion.

https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/

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