Regional importers opt for cheaper Chinese goods

By O’brien Kimani

Demand for Kenya’s product has hit the lowest levels in 3 years as regional importers opt for cheaper Chinese goods.

Figures from the Central Bank of Kenya indicate that demand for Kenyan goods dropped in the entire region by 11 billion shillings in the nine months to October.

CBK says Kenya’s exports shrunk to Sh 119.2 billion in the year to October compared to Sh 130.5 billion in a similar period last year.

Import from the region also dipped to Sh31.5 billion from Sh44.5 billion last year.

Uganda, which has traditionally been the highest buyer of Kenyan goods recorded the biggest drop of Sh10.2 billion.

Kenya sold goods worth 120 billion shillings to the East African Community with Uganda remaining the top export market for Kenyan goods.

For decades Kenya has been the top import market for the east African market due to her fledgling manufacturing sector and a steady supply of critical human skills.

However an aggressive China and India threatens this prime position held by Kenya based on current official statistics.

Civil war plagued South Sudan recorded a drop of Sh1.8 billion after several Kenyan companies moved out or scaled back operations.

Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan also imported less of Kenyan goods. Only Tanzanian and Somalia purchased more from Kenya.

The drop in attributed by rising exports from China and India, the regions two top trading partners.

China is also the largest seller in Kenya with the country importing goods worth Sh317.4 billion from Beijing in the ten months to October, which was a drop from last year’s Sh330 billion.

India remained the second largest seller with goods worth Sh 215.4 billion sold, which was also a drop from Sh 262 billion in 2015.


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