The United States has overtaken Uganda to become the largest buyer of Kenyan goods. In the first half of year 2022, official data shows that exports to the United States increased by 47 per cent to Sh. 38.8 billion.
In the same period, export of Kenyan goods to Uganda fell to Sh. 36.2 billion from the Sh. 36.3 billion that was recorded in the same period the previous year.
The United States also overtook the Netherlands which is Europe’s key entry point for Kenya’s flowers.
Data from the Congressional Research Service shows that in the full year 2021, Kenya exported Sh. 59.6 billion worth of goods to the United States. Out of these, more than 75 per cent entered duty, including chiefly apparel, macadamia nuts, coffee, tea and titanium ores.
At the same time, the United States exported Sh. 84 billion worth of goods to Kenya in 2021. These goods included aircraft, plastics, machinery and wheat.
On Wednesday, President William Ruto pitched for more business opportunities while on a tour of the United States where he attended the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Kenya is open for increased business with the USA. A conducive and enabling business environment will be a focus area of my administration to spur domestic and foreign direct investments to create jobs and wealth,” said President Ruto at a US-Kenya Executive Business Roundtable in New York.
Over the last ten years, Uganda has been the largest buyer of Kenyan goods. However, over the last few years, Uganda has been shifting away from Kenya and warming up to the neighbouring Tanzania, whose port of Dar es Salam is in direct competition with the port of Mombasa.
The two countries have also been planning to set up their own pipeline and railway routes away from the Kenya whose Standard Gauge Railway line project collapsed at Naivasha.