Kenya targets product value addition to access competitive gulf market
Kenyan agriculture producers have been urged to embark on adding value to their products in order to ensure their goods are competitive in the Gulf Cooperation Council and narrow the trade imbalance.
During the While addressing the High-Level Business Forum between Kenya and Gulf Cooperation Council member countries on the side line of the Expo 2020 Dubai, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged investors to
“Trade in these goods and services present huge opportunities which I urge all to cease. These are opportunities for example to establish joint ventures to do value addition of these products at source and there are opportunities too to develop niche markets where Kenya can earmark lands where Kenya can produce these goods for the UAE market,” said President Kenyatta told invesntors when he addressed the High Level Busines Meeting between Kenya and Gulf Cooperation Council.
Kenya’s trade with the six countries under the Gulf Cooperation Council which include UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait is currently in favour of the latter as per figures given by the Ministry of Trade.
Last year, Kenya imported goods worth Kshs. 45 billion while imports from GCC countries topped 170 billion. This imbalance is attributed to low volumes of value added exports to the gulf and which are mostly agriculture based.
“We are looking for partners where we can increase our trading with GCC countries and we do have a trade imbalance and we have opportunity to expand trade in this area,” added Phyllis Wakiaga, Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Officer.
During the meeting between Kenyan investors and GCC investors at the side line of the Expo 2020 Dubai, Trade CS Betty Maina said the country is also working on modalities that will ensure non-tariff barriers that have curtailed trade between the two regions is resolved.
A case in point is the export of Kenyan roses to the Netherlands which are the reexported to the GCC nations effectively locking out the country from the market;
Among products Kenya is targeting to boost exports include meat and livestock products, vegetables, flowers and tea.
Nonetheless, Kenya has also embarked on ensuring producers of commodities such as tea add value to their products according to Agriculture CS Peter Munya given that 90% of tea is exported in bulk.
However, the government has been urged to address bottlenecks that hinder trade and ensure there are incetives such as a 10-year visa that will guarantee investors stability.
“I believe any person within the private sector will be able to get that visa. This gives guarantee that once you come to invest here, you can have access to capital in this market,” added Richard Ngatia, Chairman of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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