Riding on its Integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy, Kenya is striving to bridge the trade deficit with China. The country is doing this mainly through the export of agriculture products.
According to The Star, Kenya is keen to grow its exports of other farm produce such as flowers, mangoes, french beans, peanuts, vegetables, meat, herbs, bixa and macadamia to China. In 2018, Kenya and China signed a food, plant, and animal safety agreement that provides the framework for the export of fruit, vegetables, flowers, and meat to China. In the first six months of 2019, Chinese imports from Kenya increased by 74.13 percent. Imports from China in 2017 reached Sh390 billion, a 20 percent jump from Sh337 billion in 2016.
China and Kenya have an agreement on the export of stevia to China, and the phytosanitary memorandum of understanding, which paves the way for access to Kenyan horticultural produce. Commenting on that agreement, China’s Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng said that “this will make Kenya the first African country to export avocados to China. We are very proactive to make the agreement real. Both sides are working closely to seal a deal on the export of fresh avocado and other products. There’s a growing need in China for high quality agricultural products and Kenya holds a prime opportunity to fulfill this demand. The market and policies are there, now both sides need to engage the right market players so that the deals bear fruits.”
Trade Mark East Africa identified the factors that created the rapid growth for imports from China include aggressive marketing of products and services by China’s Government abroad as well as Chinese contractors snapping mega infrastructure projects that are built using Chinese equipment and raw materials. A recent McKinney report has revealed that Kenya was among the African countries that are yet to figure out how they can take advantage of their relations with China. Figures from China’s General Administration of Customs show that trade between China and Africa fell by 14% to $41 billion in the first three months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.