Kenya’s net earnings from exports to African countries increased by 9.8 per cent to Kes246.1 billion from Kes224.2 billion recorded in the previous year.
Overall, Africa markets accounted for 38.2 per cent of the country’s total export earnings last year, remaining the biggest destination of Kenya’s produce.
According to this year’s Economic Survey data, exports to East Africa countries surged to Kes158.3 billion in the pandemic year from Kes140.4 billion in 2019. The East Africa market accounted for 64.3 per cent of the total exports to Africa.
Exports to neighboring Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan jointly went up by 20.8 per cent to Kes120.6 billion compared to Kes99.9 billion in 2019.
In the period, Uganda remained the largest export destination of Kenyan products accounting for 29.3 per cent of the total share of exports to Africa.
Export earnings from South Sudan almost doubled to Kes23.2 billion 2020 from Kes12.6 billion in 201, while the value of exports to Rwanda jumped by 8.8 per cent over the 12-month period.
In addition, the value of exports to Ethiopia and Sudan rose by 32.4 and 42.0 per cent, respectively, in 2020.
Further, Kenya’s value of exports to Asia markets increased marginally to Kes157.6 billion last year from Kes156.0 billion the year before.
This sustained performance was majorly due to improvement in the domestic exports of tea to Pakistan, India and Jordan, noted the report.
Despite the overall increase in export earnings from Asia, exports to the United Arab Emirates and crisis hit Afghanistan declined by 11 per cent and 36.2 per cent, respectively, in 2020.
The decline was largely attributable to a decrease in re-exports of kerosene type jet fuel to the United Arab Emirates and domestic exports of tea to Afghanistan a country that has seen speedy takeover of government by the Taliban.
The country’s earnings from exports to Europe amounted to Kes171.5 billion, accounting for 26.6 per cent of the total export earnings in the review period.
Notably, the value of exports to Germany-Europe’s biggest economy-considerably increased to Kes14.5 billion in 2020 from Kes11.3 billion in 2019, majorly driven by rising shipments of coffee and pineapples.
Additionally, the value of exports to the United Kingdom also went up by 24.4 per cent to Kes49.9 billion in 2020 from Kes40.1 billion in 2019 on account of upswing in the volume of tea, vegetables and cut flowers sold in Britain.
Across the Atlantic in the US, however, the value of exports decreased to Kes52.3 billion in 2020 from Kes56.1 billion in 2019.
The decline is partly attributed to the decrease in the value of domestic exports of shelled macadamia nuts, and articles of apparel and clothing accessories, the report adds.
Reduced imports of wheat from the US; and aeroplanes and other aircraft from Canada saw the import bill attributable to America contract by 9.4 per cent to Kes96.6 billion in the pandemic year.
A decline in the value of imported petroleum products from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates saw imports from Asia contract by 9.5 per cent to Kes1,042.6 billion in last year.
In the period under review, increased imports of crude palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia pushed up Kenya’s total value of imports from the Far East to Kes846.1 billion last year from Kes829.7 billion in the year before.
The value of imports from Europe slightly increased to Kes309.4 billion in 2020 from Kes307.4 billion in 2019 but there was a notable decline in imports from Germany (13.4 per cent), United Kingdom (17.2 per cent) and Ireland (60.1 per cent), during the review period.