Pakistan has this year overtaken Uganda as the largest buyer of Kenyan goods, while the United States is fast bridging the gap between it and Kampala on Kenya’s export market table.
Exports to Pakistan jumped 90.8 per cent to Sh24.8 billion in the year to May from Sh13 billion in a similar period last year, marking the fastest growth.
Shipments to the US grew 20 per cent to Sh18.5 billion in the period, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows.
On the flipside, exports to Uganda remained unchanged at Sh21.9 billion in the year to May while Tanzania cut back its purchases from Kenya 34 per cent to Sh8.2 billion.
Uganda has in the past years been the driver of Kenya’s exports while Tanzania was once the second largest buyer of goods from Nairobi, before narrowing its orders.
Official data shows that total exports receipt grew by Sh2.2 billion to Sh221 billion in the year to May, despite cuts in orders from Tanzania, Egypt, UK and UAE.
The growth is attributed to the jump in exports to Islamabad and Washington DC alongside the Netherlands, which is Europe’s key entry point for Kenya’s flowers and Nairobi’s third largest market, behind Pakistan and Uganda.
Pakistan is the largest market for Kenya’s tea exports while textiles and apparel top the list of US purchases from Nairobi.
Kenya is a beneficiary of the US preferential trade pact, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which allows sub-Sahara African countries to export goods to America tax-free.
Exports to Pakistan have more than doubled over the past two years from Sh9.9 billion in the first five months of 2015 to the current Sh24.8 billion.
The US intake has grown 31 per cent in the two-year period from Sh14.1 billion to the current Sh18.5 billion in the year to May.
Uganda has in the past 10 years been the largest buyer of Kenyan supplies, making it a key economic partner for Nairobi.
But the clout is now waning with the slide on Kenya’s export destination table.