Kenya’s exports through its Export Processing Zones (EPZ) are expected to increase to KSh90 billion ($866 million) in 2019 from the KSh80 billion ($770 million) booked last year.
The growth is attributed to increased output from existing businesses. Benjamin Chesang, EPZ’s manager for research, planning, and innovation also notes the important contribution of the European horticultural market and the United States’ apparel industry in boosting Kenya’s export.
The US gives preferential treatment to Kenyan goods through Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), where local manufacturers access trading giants such as JC Penny, Walmart and Macy’s among other American stores.
While Kenya’s exports continue to grow, there still lies great untapped potential. Kenya’s National AGOA Strategy and Action Plan for 2018-2023 noted that in 2016, Kenya only exported $340 million (KSh35 billion) to the United States’ apparel market which is worth $ 83 billion (KSh8.6 trillion). Such gaps allude to limited institutional capacity for supporting AGOA, limited capacities to meet U.S standard and buyer requirements and limited awareness of the U.S market among other reasons.
Kenya shows deliberate effort to grow its exports through various tactics that attract local and international investors. Incentives such as tax holidays make it attractive to set up businesses. Moreover, the government has created a good investment environment by simplifying registration procedures, improving access to the regional and international market, and establishing export processing areas.