The first 2 months of this year has seen Kenya's trade market going through a shake-up. While Pakistan lost its position as the country's top export market UAE and Japan have grown to claim Kenya's top spots in the import market.
Africa’s growth has been the second fastest after Asia. So while only fifteen years ago, Africa was regarded as a dark continent, the last decade and a half has brought Africa to the fore because of this rapid economic growth of some nations offering enormous economic opportunities like Kenya in the east.
Kenya has indeed become an increasingly important trading partner for the United Arab Emirates. While exact figures are not yet available, it is reasonable to estimate that bi-lateral trade last year was in the region of US$700,000. However, most of this is accounted for by Kenya’s imports from the United Arab Emirates. Much of this investment and trade has been a result of impressive gross domestic product growth in the regional powerhouses of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. But while relations with the UAE are virtually unshakable, and around 5 per cent of GDP growth is set to continue in East Africa, investors have become increasingly reticent over the region’s outlook in 2019. But much of it is due to the spill over of global trade situation being experienced around the world.Sustained investment in this sector will not only be beneficial for the region, but will position the UAE and GCC as important strategic partners and investors in making the East Africa a regional trade hub. According to reports by leading research companies Japan was the biggest gainer during the review period, more than doubling its earnings from imports to Kenya to Sh29.64 billion compared to Sh14.53 billion over the same period last year. While The UAE registered a 60.29 per cent increase in the value of goods purchased from Kenya to Sh24.59 billion.
Africa is fast emerging as one of the most important markets for the United Arab Emirates. As the world moves closer to achieving a global economy, Africa’s status as the most promising market of the new millennium can never be underestimated. The United Arab Emirates has been quick to recognise the immense potential in the emerging markets of Africa and is working diligently to penetrate newer markets within the African continent.