Kenya increases imports from Tanzania as relations improve

2022-01-08 19:02:20
Kenya increases imports from Tanzania as relations improve

Kenya’s imports from Tanzania exceeded exports by nearly a third in nine months through September 2021, fresh official statistics show, signaling thawing trade ties following regime change in Dar es Salaam.

Nairobi posted a goods trade deficit of $80.16 million, or 29.97 percent, with Dar es Salaam — the first over the review period going by publicly available data — after traders doubled orders from the south-neighboring country.

According to a report by The East African, provisional data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that imports from Tanzania jumped to $396 million in January-September 2021 period from $347.6 million a year earlier.

Kenyan traders and factories largely source cereals, wood, edible vegetables, animal fodder, paper and paperboard from Tanzania.

The 101.76 percent surge in value of goods bought from Tanzania dwarfed 34.81 percent growth in exports to $267.47 million, leading to the hitherto rare deficit in merchandise trade in the period.

Kenya’s exports to its East African Community partner include pharmaceutical products, plastics, iron and steel.

“There are a lot of positive vibes within EAC that are developing and we want to ride on that to bring back the EAC that used to be. For example, relations between Kenya and Tanzania are significantly better,” Adan Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for EAC Affairs, told the country’s Business Daily in September.

“Ultimately, as government, we try and make sure that the environment is suitable for the private sector to do business.”

The increase in trade flows between the two countries happened on the back of a pledge between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his counterpart Samia Suluhu early May last year to end on-and-off trade tiffs between EAC’s two largest economies.

President Samia made Nairobi her first stop as she sought to strengthen trade ties with EAC partners.

During her visit she made it clear that it was her priority to put an end to unresolved strained trade relations between the countries, which have hindered smooth flow of goods and services over the years.

Error! Error occured!