Reports by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show imports increased to 148739.56 Million KES in July of 2014 from 113690 Million KES in June of 2014. Imports in Kenya averaged 56316.38 Million KES from 1998 until 2014, reaching an all-time high of 150478 Million KES in May of 2014 and a record low of 13453 Million KES in January of 1999. Kenya imports include machinery, transport equipment, motor vehicles, metals, plastics and electrical equipment. Kenya is the natural entry point to the Africa region, a resource-rich continent. The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources of the continent. As of 2012, approximately 1.07 billion people were living in 54 different countries in Africa.
The Kenya Economic Update reports on Kenya Imports from 2012 figures. The Top 5 Products imported by Kenya includes
- Refined Petroleum at 19 percent;
- Packaged Medicaments at 2.9 percent;
- Cars at 2.8 percent;
- Delivery Trucks at 2.1 percent; and,
- Hot-Rolled Iron also at 2.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the Top 5 Import origins of Kenya include India at 27 percent, China at 20 percent, South Africa at 5.1 percent, Japan at 4.6 percent, and United Kingdom at 4.3 percent. Kenya is the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa. It is also the natural entry point to the region. The country has a market-based economy with a liberalized foreign trade policy. Kenya is active within regional trade blocs such as the COMESA or the Common Market for Eastern and EAC or the Southern Africa and the East African Community, a partnership of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The aim of the EAC is to create a common market of the three states modelled on the European Union. Among the early steps toward integration is the customs union which has eliminated duties on goods and non-tariff trade barriers among the members.
The Kenya Economic Update underlines the need for Kenya to expand its exports and diversify its markets to mitigate the impact of the recession in the Euro zone, which is Kenya’s largest trading partner and also its key source for the tourism industry. This will be critical for Kenya to reverse its current account deficit, which remains above 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite lower oil prices. Economic growth is estimated at 4.9 percent in 2013 and is projected to accelerate to 5.7 percent in 2014. Real GDP growth is estimated at 4.9 percent and 5.7 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively. With Kenya’s drastic currency depreciation and rapid inflation in 2011, the economy experienced stability for both indicators in 2012 and 2013 with inflation dropping to a single digit. This stability is expected to continue in 2014. The Kenya Economic Update is produced by the Bank in collaboration with Economic Round Table members, including the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and National Development, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the National Economic and Social Council and the International Monetary Fund.