NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya is planning to develop a strategy to
reverse the decline of exports to Tanzania, the country’s export
promotion agency said on Thursday.
Peter Biwott, the
CEO of the Export Promotion Council (EPC), told journalists in
Nairobi Kenyan exports to Tanzania declined from 348 million
U.S. dollars in 2016 to 285 million dollars in 2017.
“We are looking at
some options for sustaining Kenyan exports to Tanzania which is
the most lucrative market in the East African region,” Biwott
said during a media briefing on Kenya’s participation in the Dar
es Salaam International Trade Fair to be held from June 28 to
Biwott said that
Kenya plans to enhance its engagement with Tanzania by changing
tact and becoming even more aggressive because Nairobi’s needs
Dar es Salaam much and vice versa.
Data from the
ministry of trade indicates that Kenya imported goods worth 172
million dollars from Tanzania in 2017, up from 128 million
dollars the previous year.
Tanzania is also a
major recipient of Kenya’s Foreign Direct Investment as the
overall investment portfolio currently stands at 1.68 billion
sectors range from horticulture, financial, insurance and real
Biwott noted that
although Kenya continues to enjoy a trade surplus within the
East African Community (EAC) bloc, it is faced with a declining
trade, a worrying trend that remains a critical focus of the
The export agency
also plans to undertake a diagnostic study to unearth the root
causes of the high-level oscillations in Kenya’s export to the
Tanzanian market and the relative declining export performance
within the EAC.
Biwott blamed the
dwindling exports to Tanzania to intensification of product
substitutes from other sources as well new suppliers from other
countries entering into the Tanzanian market.
He noted that even
as Kenya is working to increase its trade surplus, Tanzania is
also keen on gaining a balanced trade with Nairobi and is in
effect pursuing all options to increase her products into the
country while at the same time, minimizing imports into its
market from Kenya as part of its industrial policy agenda.
According to Biwott,
Kenya will intensify its promotional activities in Tanzania in
order to increase awareness of Kenyan goods in the Tanzanian
In order to address
the issues of non tariff barriers that are common between Kenya
and Tanzanian trade, bilateral talks involving senior government
officials from Kenya and Tanzania is set to take place on July 4
in Dar es Salaam.
Biwott said evidence
shows that for countries like Kenya to transition to higher
income economies, they must invest in exports development and
Jas Bedi, the
Chairman of the EPC said Kenya will in future focus on an export
led economic growth model.
Bedi said the
country’s objective is to ensure that Kenya achieves an overall
trade surplus so as increase its foreign exchange earnings.
He said Africa is
now a key target market for Kenya’s manufactured goods
especially with the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade
The chairman noted
that between 2017 and 2016, Kenya’s exports to the continent
declined to 38 percent from 40 percent of total exports due to
challenges faced by exporters including tariffs and non-tariff
Bedi added that
Kenya’s goal of becoming a regional manufacturing hub will be
achieved faster if access to the continent is increased even