Business

Kenya’s share of UK market shrinks by 13.2 per cent

Kenya’s share of UK market has declined by 13.2 per cent in the last five years as a
result of increased competition from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania, a new study
indicates.

A report on UK-Kenya trade and investment relations attributed the erosion in market share to lack of diversification which has reduced the country’s export competitiveness.

“This has given rise to significant competition from other African countries, namely;
Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Cote D’Ivoire, all which have gradually eaten into the market share,” it said.

These countries compete on wages, in the case of Ethiopia and better marketing
systems by Cote D’Ivoire).

“In some cases, Kenya is unable to comply with European Union maximum residue
levels of pesticides in, for instance, beans.

According to the report released yesterday, the export share in the UK has declined from 26.7 per cent in 2001 to 13.5 per cent in 2016.

“Increased export competition from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania to the UK has
significantly reduced Kenya’s export to the country by almost half in the last one
decade,” the report said.

Kenya exports horticultural products, black tea and fresh roses, which are the main
foreign exchange earners. The rising competition means Kenya must improve level ofmarketing its existing products or diversify.

The report said high-value horticultural crops such as fresh vegetables, flowers and fruit and other cash crops such as coffee and tea are responsible for 90 per cent of total Kenyan exports to the UK.

Speaking during the launch, Trade Principal Secretary, Chris Kiptoo said the report
provides specific guidelines on what could be done to improve trade and exports for
every other country.

“The upcoming Kenya Trade Week and Exposition will provide a forum to discuss all the important issues relating to trade such as our national export strategy and other measures to improve market access and competitiveness,” he said.

Dr Kiptoo urged private and public sector players to attend the event to create a strong focus for enhancing trade and the “Big Four” agenda to achieve prosperity for all Kenyans.

Lead Researcher of the report, Dirk Willem te Velde, said Kenya can develop new
“sunrise” products such as leather and textiles to increase high-value exports to the UK.

“A focus on how to improve market access, investing in trade-related infrastructure and strengthening domestic policies in relation to the development of economic zones will improve Kenya’s investment climate and export performance,” he said.
Export Promotion Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Biwott, said the study will spur Kenya’s exports to the UK thereby enhancing foreign exchange earnings for the country.

He urged the private sector to take advantage of the study and increase exports to the UK market.

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