Agency eyes Sh1.6tr export earnings in new game plan

KQ personnel load farm produce into a plane at Kisumu International Airport. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

A five-year strategic plan by the export promotion agency has listed tea, coffee and textiles among the products it will prioritise to boost the country’s foreign earnings to Sh1.6 trillion by 2028. 

Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency’s (KEPROBA) Sh13 billion draft strategic plan for 2023-2028 is banking on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to expand the country’s export market over the period. 

Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa are some of the markets that the export promotion agency is targeting under AfCFTA. 

The agency will prioritise raising the uptake of opportunities in the AfCFTA market as one way of ridding the country of overreliance on traditional export markets. 

KEPROBA plans to increase Kenya’s exports by 10.7 per cent annually from Sh873.1 billion in 2022 to Sh1.6 trillion BY 2028. 

“The 10.7 per cent annual export growth will be the agency’s contribution towards the 25 per cent annual export growth target enshrined in the Integrated National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy (INEDPS),” says the agency. 

KEPROBA targets to secure new markets for Kenyan tea in Asia, prioritising the sale of black tea to China.  Under AfCFTA, the agency hopes to raise tea exports to Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) even as it raises volumes to the United States and the United Kingdom. 

The plan is to increase earnings from tea exports to Sh48 billion annually by 2028. 

KEPROBA is also eyeing to expand the market for Kenyan coffee in the US, European Union (Germany and Belgium), the United Kingdom, Asia (South Korea and Japan), and Saudi Arabia, hoping to rake in Sh61.3 billion annually by 2028. 

The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the key target markets for meat and meat products under the plan, with the agency hoping to net Sh19.06 billion annually. 

Dairy, with a target of Sh600 million, will be destined majorly to East African Community countries, namely South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Somalia. Under AfCFTA, the agency is eyeing Malawi and Ghana. 

KEPROBA will also scout for new markets for Kenyan leather and leather products in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Uganda, looking to earn the country Sh1.8 billion annually by the end of the strategic plan. 

Target markets

Under the blue economy, the agency hopes to make inroads in the Asian market - China Japan and South Korea -  with a target to raise Sh10.7 billion annually. Other target markets under the plan are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Spain, Israel, Portugal, the US and the UK. 

The United States, which is Kenya’s main market for textiles and apparel, has also been identified as a prime market for blue economy opportunities.

Edible oils will be marketed in the EAC as well as Zambia and Malawi through AfCFTA, with the agency hoping this will raise some Sh595 million annually for the country. 

This will see the agency establish infrastructure for export market development which will involve operationalising warehouses and distribution centres. In the next five years, Keproba targets 10 such warehouses at a cost of Sh2.3 billion.   The agency will also establish and strengthen relationships with buyers in the regional and international markets.

This will be done by establishing commercial representatives in the target markets. A total of 50 commercial offices will be established during this period. 

The plan states that the coming into force of the AfCFTA bonds well for Africa and Kenya as the agreement offers a market of 1.3 billion people across 55 member countries. 

Kenya is among the select countries alongside Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Mauritius, which were identified to trade under the AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) on about 96 products.  This is to fast-track the implementation of the trade pact. Kenya shipped its first consignment of tea and Exide batteries under the plan to Ghana in September 2022. 

“There has been limited uptake of opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market. This could be attributable to lack of information and awareness of the opportunities therein. There is, therefore, a need for the development of strategies seeking to amplify uptake of these opportunities by the Kenyan exporters,” says KEPROBA.