Kenya’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the ministry of EAC and Regional Development are working on educating kenyan businesses and entrepreneurs on the available opportunities for trade in the EAC market.
This has been agreed by the KNCCI chairman Mr Kiprono Kittony and the cabinet secretary for EAC and Regional Development Mr Peter Munya at a meeting seeking to have both parties collaborating on sensitization and capacity-building of Kenyan businessmen and entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities provided by the EAC integration for accessing the larger East African market.
The East African market presents a population of about 150 million people with land area of 1.82 million square kilometres and a combined gross domestic product of Sh163.9 trillion ($74.5 billion).
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey 2018, total export earnings from the EAC decreased by 5.6 per cent in 2017 to Sh114.8 billion ($1,138 billion).
This was partly as a result of reduction in the value of total exports to Uganda from Sh62.2 billion ($616.660 million) to Sh61.8 billion ($612.694 million), Tanzania from Sh34.8 billion ($345.012 million) to Sh28.5 billion and Rwanda from Sh17.5 billion ($173.497 million) to Sh17.1 billion ($169.531) in 2017. Earnings from domestic exports of cement to Uganda fell by a further 21.7 per cent in 2017. Other commodity exports to Uganda that showed decline in earnings during the year included: alcohols; phenols and their derivatives (81.7%);
Uganda currently exports electricity in bulk to Kenya while Kenya sells cement and other construction material to the country. Kenya also buys maize and other cereals from Uganda.
According to the report, during the year under review, real GDP in the five member East Africa Community (EAC-5) remained unchanged at 5.4 per cent.
“The real GDP of Rwanda and Tanzania are estimated to have recorded the fastest growth of 6.2 and 6.5 per cent, respectively, in 2017. The community’s current account deficit as a percentage of GDP widened to 6.2 per cent in 2017 from 5.8 in 2016, while inflation rate surged to 6.7 per cent in 2017 from 5.7 per cent in 2016, on account of rising food and oil prices.” The report reads in part.