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Kenya’s export trade goes digital

By Moses Omusolo | October 25th 2020
Avocados from Avoveg Limited, a company that deals with processing and export of horticultural produce. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Kenya has broken ground in online export promotion after it secured more than Sh200 million worth of orders in its first virtual trade fair recently held in Italy.

Championed by the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA), it is expected that virtual trading will become a lucrative avenue for the country’s fledgling exports sector.

“Kenyan exporters clinched sales leads amounting to over $2,178,000 (Sh235,224,0000) in the recent Virtual Macfrut Digital 2020 Trade Fair that took place in Rimini, Italy. This amount was from over 36 buyers,” said KEPROBA in a statement.

The agency said the event held in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) through the She Trades project featured some 10 Kenyan women exporters in fruits and vegetables.

The fair was postponed in May 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

“The 10 women exporters who exhibited in the 3-day virtual exhibition were hosted at the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency offices. With support with technology, they were able to interact with global stakeholders including exporters, importers, technicians, experts and investors in value addition, showcasing current emerging business opportunities in the fruit and vegetable sectors,” said KEPROBA.

Commenting on the development, KEPROBA Chief Executive Wilfred Marube said the success of the fair was unprecedented.

“We are happy that even Covid-19 did not stop our Kenyan exporters from interacting with the world on the streets of Rimini and make sales. We will continue following up the exhibitors and update the confirmed orders and delivery for the next 12 months,” he said.

Dr Marube further said the agency will invest in strengthening its technological infrastructure to facilitate virtual trading.

“Going forward, we are creating an exporters’ portal for online engagement, meetings and exhibitions. This one will be a game changer in promoting our exports since it will ensure that we are not limited by physical distance, space or even funds to contribute to the growth of exports. It will provide limitless and borderless opportunities,” he said.

The news comes as data shows Kenya’s trade with European Union has been stable over years.

In 2019, Kenya’s merchandised exports to Europe were worth Sh152.3 billion ($1.4 billion) making it the third-largest destination after Africa and Asia.

Kenya’s leading exports to the European Union include avocados, passion fruits, pineapples, french peas, mangoes, and bananas.

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