Reports that Kenya's exports within the East African Community bloc and specifically to Uganda have dropped are cause for worry. Some of Kenya's exports in the region include petroleum products, fish, cement, sisal and pyrethrum. For long, Uganda has been Kenya's biggest export market, bringing in Sh68.5 billion and Sh62 billion in 2015 and 20016 respectively. Achieving an economy of scale was therefore easy compared to exporting locally produced elsewhere.
Arguably, Kenya has the biggest economy in the region that, by all means, must be sustained. Losing the grip that we as a country have had in the region will impact negatively on the economy. This raises the fundamental question that if we can't win in the region, how can we win abroad where, because of the many options and the efficient and cheaper models of production make competition is fierce?
The findings of the 2016 Economic Survey that show Kenya's export value to the East African Community region dropped by 4 per cent are a pointer to what needs to be done. An export regime that largely relies on raw material is not sustainable in the long term. There have been steps to ensure value addition becomes an integral part of our export promotion.