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Kenya’s exports to EAC surpass pre-COVID-19 period

Trucks loaded with merchandise await clearance to enter into Uganda from Kenya at the Malaba border.

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | Kenya’s exports to countries in East African Community (EAC) have surpassed the pre-COVID-19 period, with the pandemic seemingly catalyzing trade.

The exports to Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda recovered from May, sustaining an upward trajectory to August, new economic data from government statistics agency released on Thursday shows.

To Uganda, Kenya’s exports rose from 3.6 billion shillings (about 33.5 million U.S. dollars) in May to 59.3 million in August, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

In June, the exports stood at 40.3 million dollars and in July, 52.4 million dollars. The August exports are the highest since January.

Exports to Tanzania, similarly, rose from 17 million dollars in May to 23 million dollars in August while to Rwanda, an East African nation exported goods worth 11.8 million dollars in May, surging to 23.3 million dollars in August, says the KNBS.

“Domestic exports by broad economic category indicate that food and beverages were the main export category in August accounting for 43.23 percent of exports, while non-food industrial supplies accounted for 26.62 percent of the total exports,” says KNBS.

Kenya’s exports to outside the region in particular to Europe, the U.S. and other parts of Africa, however, remained subdued during the period due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The World Bank, in its October report dubbed “Africa Pulse: Charting the road to recovery” notes that trade in the EAC has recovered as the pandemic is managed.

“Kenya’s exports to Uganda and Rwanda already surpassed their pre-COVID-19 highs and re-exports to Tanzania sharply accelerated by July. Full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can play a role in further expanding intraregional trade,” says the bank.

It adds that AfCFTA can also help promote regional value chains and organize production across countries in the region.



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