NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya on Tuesday launched an export strategy in
order to eliminate the country’s widening trade deficit.
William Ruto told a trade forum in Nairobi that the Integrated
National Export Development and Promotion Strategy contains a
roadmap to expand the country’s exports so as to achieve a trade
surplus in the medium term.
“The strategy will
help to move country’s exports from the equivalent of eight
percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 25 percent of GDP by
2022,” Ruto said during the official opening of the Kenya Trade
Week and Exposition.
The weeklong event
aims to provide a platform for Kenyan manufacturers to discuss
ways of addressing challenges that affect them.
The export strategy
aims to boost external trade by ensuring that Kenya prioritizes
on value addition of raw materials.
Ruto said the
strategy aims to focus on eight sectors including textiles and
apparel, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, oil and gas, mining
and handicrafts, noting that exports are vital to fuel economic
growth through job creation and foreign exchange revenue.
The deputy president
said a Cabinet Subcommittee on exports has been established to
bring on board key ministries to push for development of
government data, Kenya imported goods worth 17 billion U.S.
dollars against exports of six billion dollars in 2017.
Ruto said Kenya’s
balance of trade has been widening in the past decade as imports
have been growing at a faster pace than exports.
He noted that in
order to support the export sector, Kenya is considering
establishing an export insurance guarantee scheme to help
exporters penetrate into new international markets.
Peter Munya, the
Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and
Cooperatives, said Kenya’s exports are vulnerable to external
shocks due to a narrow export base.
Munya said in 2017,
five commodities accounted for approximately 56 percent of all
export revenues while 13 countries absorbed 70 percent of all
He added that Kenya
will seek to exploit all the bilateral trade agreements that it
has signed around the world in order to seek additional markets.
He noted that
through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the
East African Community (EAC), Africa Growth and Opportunity Act
and EAC-European Union Partnership Agreement, Kenyan goods have
preferential access to over one billion consumers.
Munya said most of
Kenya’s manufactured exports emanate from the Export Processing
“We are now
prioritizing use of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) which have
world class infrastructure to produce globally competitiveness
products,” he said.
He noted that the
government has already licensed two SEZs which will be fully
operational by end of 2019.
Chris Kiptoo, the
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and
Cooperatives, said manufactured exports to the EAC has been
declining in the past five years due to tariff and non-tariff
“We have therefore
turned our focus to the rest of the African continent where
Kenya has signed preferential trade agreements,” Kiptoo said.
He noted that the
government has rolled out a raft of incentives in order to boost
the local manufacturing sector.