Britain’s King Charles III arrived in Kenya late Monday, October 30 accompanied by her Majesty Queen Camila for their first visit to a commonwealth nation. The Kings visit has been touted as way to spur economic and trade relations between the two countries.
The palace says Charles and Camila are in the country for a four-day state visit. They are expected to tackle the best of the country from the young entrepreneurs, creatives to the beautiful forests and coastline.
On his first day in Nairobi, the King visited Kenya’s silicon Savanah. During the visit he met with young Kenyan innovators at the Nairobi Garage. The King also met with Gjenge Makers who are turning waste plastics into building materials.
At the same time, the King also met with young people on the Enterprise Challenge Program organized by Asante Africa. His majesty learned about the young people’s business ideas including poultry farming, tree nursery and bead crafting.
Kenya-UK Economic Partnerships and Trade
In March 2021, former Kenya’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Industry , Moses Kuria met with UK Minister for International trade Nigel Huddleston. The two met in London at the first ever UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Council Meeting.
During the meeting, both parties agreed to accelerate work and remove trade barriers affecting bilateral trade and investments. The two Ministers also discussed the progress of £3.5 billion of green investment deals. The deal was what UK Prime Minister, Rish Sunak and President William Ruto agreed to fast track at COP 27.
The Economic Partnership Council meets once every two years as part of (EPC), having come into force in 2021.
The agreement ensures that all companies operating continue to benefit from duty free access market to UK market. These companies include British ones that operate in Kenya. These helps to save exporters over Sh. 1.5 billion in duties.
The UK is the first country outside Africa to enter into trade agreements with Kenya. Kenya is currently viewed as the largest economy in East Africa. UK-Kenya bilateral trade is already worth KS 167 billion (£1.1bn) per annum.
Kenya- UK Trade Volumes
The UK imports goods such as Coffee, tea, spices, Edible Vegetables, Live Trees, Machinery. It also exports Vehicles, Pharmaceutical products, Electrical Machinery, Paper and Pulps to Kenya.
According to Trade and Investment Factsheets, total trade in goods and services (Exports plus Imports) between Kenya and UK stands at £1.2 billion in the four quarters to the end of quarter one of 2023.
These showed an increase of 6.1 percent or £68 million in current prices from the four quarters to the end of Quarter one of 2022.
UK export to Kenya currently stands at £515 million showing a decrease of 5.7 percent compared to last year. At the same time, Kenya imports from UK amounted to £667 million in 2023. These showed an increase of 17.4 percent or £99 million compared to last year.
Kenya is the UK’s 87th largest trading partner in the four quarters of 2023 accounting to 0.1 percent of total UK trade. In 2021, the outward stock of foreign direct investments (FDI) from Kenya stood at £489 million.
Kenya is looking to boost efforts in increasing exports of tea, flowers, vegetables, spices, fruits and macadamia. These products are in the UK. Kenyan margarine, coconut fiber, soap, preserved beans are yet to gain importance in the UK market.
Kenyan exporters to the UK face challenges related to compliance. These include include compliance to phytosanitary control for vegetables and food, and limited access to finance and financial literacy for small-scale tea farmers
On the other hand, the country also benefits from UK’s tourism sector. The Kings Visit has created a buzz at the Kenyan Coastline.
These has attracted tourist and investors from the UK and beyond. The Majesties visit to the coastal city of Mombasa will boost the areas economy that is reliant on tourism.
According to Kenya Tourism Baord, Kenya received over 100,00 visitors from the UK up from 83, 126 in 2022.