PUBLISHED ON October 8th, 2014

Netherlands and United States become top Kenya export markets

New economic data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) received Monday indicates the country’s exports to Netherlands hit 244 million U.S. dollars in the first six months of this year, compared to Britain’s 195 million dollars.

Britain has been Kenya’s second top destination of exports for over two years after beating Tanzania.

However, the country, according to the economic data, now stands at position four, with U.S. coming in third as Kenya strengthens its bilateral ties with President Barrack Obama’s administration.

U.S. imports from Kenya stood at 206 million dollars in the first half of the year.

The imports have been on the rise since January, where they stood at 27.2 million dollars and grew to 42 million dollars in June, an indication of US warming up to goods from East Africa’s biggest economy.

Uganda remains Kenya’s top destination of goods, with an import worth 251 million dollars in the first half of this year.

Kenya exports to Netherlands include mainly cut flowers, tobacco and horticultural products. On the other hand, Netherlands exports to Kenya chemicals, machinery, engines and transport equipment.

The relation between the two nations, however, goes beyond trade.

According to the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, the Netherlands funds various programes in Kenya in art, water and environment sectors.

Cut flowers contribute to close to 80 per cent of Kenya’s exports to Netherlands.

Trade between the two nations has been vibrant since the start of the year. It peaked in March, where it stood at 47 million dollars, the highest so far.

The least Kenya exported to Netherlands in the period January to June was 35.2 million dollars in April.

Last year, Kenya’s exports to Netherlands stood at 363 million dollars.

If the current momentum is sustained, this year’s exports would surpass those of 2013.

Kenya, however, does not import as much from Netherlands. In the first six months of the year, the East African nation imported goods worth 94 million dollars.

Analysts note that growing ties between the two nations show that Kenya is keen on seeking new trade partners, especially those who benefit her most as in the case of Netherlands.

Trade between Netherlands and Kenya is growing at a time when Britain and the East African nation’s bilateral ties are lukewarm.

“Kenya’s central location in East Africa is attractive to Dutch investors.Investing in this country means access to a market of over 135 million consumers in East Africa, an abundant labour which is skilled and enterprising,” noted Dutch Embassy in Nairobi.

It is further not surprising that US has overtaken Britain as a popular destination of Kenya’s exports.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has been on tour of the U.S. twice in two months, where he met President Obama. In August, Kenya sealed deals worth 562 million dollars with US investors.

But it is not only the East African nation’s exports to the US that are growing, Kenya’s imports from the country have increased about six-fold since January.

U.S. exports to the Kenya have grown from 60 million dollars at the beginning of the year to 344 million dollars in July, according to economic data.

In July, U.S. was the biggest supplier of goods to Kenya, followed India’s 284 million dollars and China’s 199 million dollars. However, in general, India remains the biggest supplier of goods to Kenya.

Imports from the U.S. in 2013 totalled 660 million dollars, KNBS data shows.

Kenya imports include aircrafts, electric machinery and grains, according to the Office of United States for Trade Representative.


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