BY DPPS,NAIROBI,15TH JULY 2019-Deputy President William Ruto wants Kenya to seize the opportunity of access to free trade area market so as to bridge the trade deficit it is facing.
He said it was regrettable that despite trade volumes growing in recent years, it was not in favour of Kenya as it was importing more than it was selling to foreign markets.
Addressing the Third Kenya Trade Week on Monday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Dr Ruto noted that Kenya must “act early and decisively to claim a strong position” in the African Free Trade Area, a bloc of 1.3 billion people and $ 3.4 trillion.
“To achieve this, it is important to develop a national strategy to guide our approach and it is my hope that the Ministry of Trade is already engaged on this task,” said the Deputy President.
He told the Summit trade is a bedrock to the economic aspirations of the country, and as such, “it is vital that we explore all avenues to expand the reach and value of Kenyan products both within and without our borders.”
He further noted that it was through trade that Kenya, and Africa at large, would create jobs that is much needed for its growing population.
According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, the country’s exports grew from Sh537 billion in 2014 to Sh613 billion in 2018, indicating a 14 per cent rise. During the same period, imports went up from Sh1.62 trillion in 2014 to Sh1.76 trillion in 2018, representing an 8.6 per cent.
The export volumes, Dr Ruto said, is far from its potential.
He observed that Kenya needs to up its export numbers so as to have a balanced trade.
In 2014, for instance, Kenya exported Sh537 billions’ worth of goods and services. In the same period, it brought in goods and services worth Sh1.62 trillion indicating a negative trade balance of Sh1.08 trillion.