Focus Shifts To Kenya, China Trade Terms As Imbalance Persists

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By Otiato Guguyu

The massive trade deficit between Kenya and China remains in the spotlight despite significant shifts in the value of dealings between the two nations over the first-half of this year.

Kenya’s imports from China shrunk in the period while its exports to the Asian nation grew substantially — eliciting a feel-good-factor, but analysts reckon the exports surge is hardly enough to narrow the balance of trade, heavily in favour of China.

Imports from the Asian nation declined 16.3 percent to Sh169.6 billion in the first six months compared to the same period in 2018 while Chinese orders for Kenyans goods jumped 74.13 percent to Sh7.48 billion — data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed.

Analysts, however, warn that the deficit remains too big and warrants further measures to trim it by pushing for uptake of more Kenyan goods in the Chinese market.

“The balance of trade is heavily in favour of China, yet China with its population of 1.4 billion people remains a strategic market for Kenya’s exports,” Dr Oscar Otele, Political Science lecturer and researcher at the University of Nairobi says.

For the last two years, imports from China in the first half of the year have dipped having peaked in 2017 at Sh213 billion before falling to Sh202 billion in 2018 and the present Sh169 billion…Read more>>

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