Have you ever thought of exporting goods and service in East Africa? Do you have any country in mind? Worry no more Kenya is the country. In a matter of facts, Kenya is the best ranked with the best-growing economy at a high rate when compared to member and signatories of the East Africa Community Treaty. The other members of this community apart from Kenya include Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and latest Burundi.
Kenya is the best-preferred destination by foreign investors because of many factors, In terms of Security, Kenya is one of the safest countries only that the other day they had few cases of attack from suspected Al-Shabaab a terrorist group from the neighboring country Somali but security officer were able to contain the situation.
The population which is a key thing in demand for the commodity, Kenya is one of the most populated countries in the east Africa trading bloc. The current population is 50,742,483 as of 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. This number can create a good market for goods from others countries. Kenya has the potential to be one of Africa’s success stories from its growing youthful population, a dynamic private sector, highly skilled workforce, improved infrastructure, a new constitution, and its pivotal role in East Africa.
Kenya in the recent days has made significant structural and economic reforms that have largely driven sustained economic growth, social development and political gains over the past decade.
What are the major imports of Kenya?
In 2016 Kenya imported $32.3B, making it the 85th largest importer in the world. During the last five years, the imports of Kenya have increased at an annualized rate of 127B%, from $12.2B in 2011 to $32.3B in 2016. The most recent imports are led by Refined Petroleum which represents 3.96% of the total imports of Kenya, followed by Packaged Medicaments, which account for 1.54%. As the signs of progress from 2016 to date, the imported commodities have continued to rise. The most imported commodities include the following:
HS92 ID 2710
Import Value $1.28B
Import RCA 3.80
Most of the refined petroleum is imported from India 77%, Bahrain 6.6%, Qatar 3.2%, Oman 5.8, United Arab Emirates 1.4% and Netherlands 2.8% though there are other small imports from other countries.
HS92 ID 3004
Import Value $496M
Import RCA 1.95
The main origin of packaged medication is India 59%, China 5.3%, Switzerland Pakistan 8.9%, United Kingdom 7.6%, Belgium 3.5%, France 2.4%, Germany 1.3% among other countries.
HS92 ID 8703
Import Value $M
Import RCA 0.63
Automobiles and their spare parts used in Kenya are most imported from these countries in large quantities, they include; Japan 74%, United Arab Emirates 3.6%, India %, United Kingdom 10% South Africa 3.3% among others countries. Automobiles include cars, delivery trucks, and tractors. For those who plan to import automobiles in Kenya, they should put more preference on cars as they are the most demanded.
HS92 ID 8563
Import Value $3.09B
Import RCA 2.73
Electronics include telephones, computers, Broadcasting equipment, insulated wire, electrical transformers, and video display among many others. Most of these electronics are imported from China 44%, Hong Kong 25%, the United States 9.4%, Netherlands 5.1% and United Kingdom 2.1%. From the list, the most demanded electronics is the telephone it be the most sort after commodities in the recent day this been triggered by the cheap price and network coverage in the country.
Kenya imports from India
According to research done, India has been ranked has Kenya’s sixth largest trading partner and the largest exporter to Kenya. Indian exports to Kenya include pharmaceuticals, machinery, steel, and automobiles while Kenyan exports to India are largely primary commodities such as soda ash, vegetables, and tea.
The relation of Kenya and India dates back in several centuries ago. Kenya has a large minority of Indians and Persons of Indian Origin living there who are descendants of laborers who were brought in by the British to construct the Uganda Railway this created a good relationship which still exists up to date. Since there are large numbers of Indian in Kenya they tend to import most of the commodities from their country of origin making India be one of the top countries Kenya import its products from.
The survey was done to show that trade between Kenya and India amounted to $2.4 billion in 2010–2011 but with Kenyan imports from India accounting for $2.3 billion, the balance of trade was heavily in India’s favor. India has made their presence is felt in Kenya by having several companies being established in Kenya those corporates include Tata Group, Essar, Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel.
Kenya imports from the USA
Kenya has for the first time bought more goods from the United States in one year than it did from the whole of Africa, underlining growing commercial ties that are expected to deepen with the recent softening of relations and President Barack Obama’s visit.
US exports to East Africa’s largest economy rose to $168 million last year compared to the $146 million worth of goods and services that came from Africa, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). In this export, Kenya got the lion share when compared with other countries in East Africa Bloc.
According to the survey, Kenya was the United States’ 80th largest goods export market in 2015. U.S. goods exports to Kenya in 2015 were $937 million, a drop of 43% ($704 million) from 2014 but up 63% from 2005.
The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: aircraft ($630 million), machinery ($59 million), cereals (grain, sorghum) ($33 million), electrical machinery ($27 million), and special other (repairs) ($25 million).
U.S. exports of agricultural products to Kenya totaled $67 million in 2015. Leading categories include coarse grains (ex. corn) ($28 million), pulses ($6 million), vegetable oils (ex. soybean) ($6 million), wheat ($5 million), and prepared food ($5 million).
Kenya has also benefited significantly from the United States of America, has taken the position of the second-largest market for Kenya’s exports.
Import data of Kenya
Imports in Kenya decreased to $128.94 million in February from $157.46 million in January 2018. Imports in Kenya averaged $704.61 million from 1998 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of $1655.73 million in July of 2017 and a record low of $134.53 million in January of 1999.
Kenya Imports by Product Section in US Dollars – Yearly
Fast moving imports in Kenya
A report shows non-consumable goods mobile phones are the fastest moving products. It was the most bought item both online and offline retail in Kenya and in the categories of electronics. The total listing value of mobile phones on the marketplace in March 2017 was at $0.99 million, a 108% increase from February 2017 and 608% from March 2016.
Televisions come in second, with a total listing value of Ksh86.7 million, a 34.6% increase from February 2017. Its demand Index increased by 6.9% between February and March 2017. TV Manufacturers are keeping pace with viewers’ tastes, releasing newer models with the enhanced user experience. Other in the list of most sorted after include laptop, cameras, tablets and HiFi systems.
For the consumer goods, these are the most demanded product. They usually don’t stay long on the shelf they include
According to a past study by the World Bank, alcohol takes up 1.6% of household consumption expenditure in Kenya. Perhaps you might want to consider venturing into wines & spirit exportation to take a slice of this billion-dollar industry.
From cosmetics, fragrances, oral care, bath and shower products to child care items, the personal care industry in Kenya takes up a significant 2.8% of the average African household consumption budget.
Cereals, Grains & Wheat
The World Bank data suggests that cereals, grains and wheat take up the largest share of household spending on FMCG products. Gross household expenditure on cereals, grains and wheat surpassed $64.5 Billion in 2010 representing a whopping 27% of the overall consumption budget. Some business opportunities around this include cereals supplies, milling, agri-business and value addition.
Customs regulations and information for imports of household goods and personal effects.
- Original Passport
- Original Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
- Original Work Permit
- Packing list
- Form C-18 Declaration, signed by the shipper (Baggage Claim form)
- Detailed inventory
- PRO 1B (Diplomats)
- PRO 1A (Diplomats)
- The shipper must be present for Customs clearance.
- All shipments will be inspected by Customs.
- All cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes, alcohol, and foodstuffs will be subjected to radioactive analysis which will cost $30 per sample per item.
- Computers are not classified as personal effects and are subject to tax and duties.
- All wooden crates need (ISPM) No. 15 requirements.
- For non-Diplomats, the goods must have been owned for more than 1 year by the shipper and must be imported within 90 days after approval of the Work Permit.
- Documents must be received by agent 15 days prior to arrival in order for shipper’s employer to obtain the Duty-Free Exemption Certificate, if applicable (Diplomats).
- Diplomatic goods are not subject to inspection with an approved PRO 1B in place (Diplomats).
- The PRO 1A is required if importing alcohol and must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Diplomats).
- Diplomats must apply for exemption from duty and value-added tax (VAT) through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya; the approval for the exemption can take several months.
- Returning residents must have lived abroad for more than 2 consecutive years and cannot have visited Kenya for a total of more than 90 days from the last date of entry in Kenya for dutyfree import; shipment must be imported within 3 months of entry date.
- For the duty-free importation of personal effects, the shipper must have owned the items for at least 1 year prior to import (returning residents).
- The shipper must not have visited Kenya for a total of more than 90 days in the last 2 years prior to his last date of entry in Kenya (returning residents)
- Original Passport
- Original Work Permit
- Personal Identification Number (PIN) Certificate
- Original Certificate of Registration / Logbook of the vehicle in English
- Import Declaration Form (IDF)
- Certificate of Conformity (COC)
- If a shipper wants to pay duties on the car, the following document will be required:
o Importer’s PIN Certificate
o Import Declaration Form (IDF) plus IDF charges to be paid (EUR 50)
o Purchase Invoice in English
o PRO 1B form approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Diplomats)
- Left-hand drive vehicles cannot be imported.
- Vehicles older than 8 years cannot be imported.
- A fee of EUR 120 for processing must be paid to Kenyan Customs.
- If the IDF is not available, a penalty of 15% of the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value of the car will be charged by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (non-Diplomats and expatriates).
- The Certificate of Road Worthiness must be provided by the owner of the vehicle to the Kenya Bureau of Standards agent (JEVIC); it is required for a pre-inspection at origin to obtain the Certificate of Conformity (COC) for cars coming from Japan / Dubai Singapore / South Africa / UK (cars from origins than these can be inspected in Kenya by KBS for a fee of EUR 150).
- The OBL and AWB must show the details of the motor vehicle (e.g., chassis and engine numbers, make, model, color, etc.)
- The shipper must have owned the vehicle for at least 1 year for duty-free import or approximately 61% of taxes will be charged.
- All shipment documentation must be sent to the agent at least 1 month prior to shipment arrival to reduce the possibility of demurrage/storage charges.
- Diplomats are allowed to import 1 vehicle or motorcycle per shipment; additional vehicles or motorcycles will be subject to duties and taxes at the rate of 45% + value added tax (VAT) at 16%.
- Motor vehicles must be imported within 90 days after the last date of arrival of the shipper.
- A guaranty deposit can be requested by Customs of the value of the duties while waiting for confirmation of an exemption.
- Shipper must not have visited Kenya for a total of more than 90 days in the last 2 years prior to the last date of arrival in Kenya.
- Only one duty-free car per returning resident in a lifetime is permitted.
- If the vehicle is older than 1 year, there is no tax provided that the vehicle is registered in the name of the person moving.
- Vehicles imported duty-free are not transferable for a period of 1 year.
- Taxes on vehicles are based on a percentage of the local value for a similar vehicle (approximately 55%) and the vehicle must not have a seating capacity of more than 13 people.
- All shippers must pay motor vehicle processing fees (currently USD 145 per motor vehicle)
Restricted / Dutiable items
- Weapons, including firearms (a Firearm Certificate issued by the Kenyan Firearms Office is required)
- Wild flora and fauna (a Plant Import Permit is required)
- Birds and their products (a Sanitary Import Permit issued by the Director of Veterinary Services is required for the import of birds from countries affected by Bird Flu)
The following items may qualify for free import with the limits indicated by persons 16 years and older:
- Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), tobacco (1/2 pound)
- Alcoholic beverages (1 bottle)
- Perfume (1 pint)
- Game trophies
- Counterfeit currency
- Gambling machines
- Pornographic or obscene literature (books, articles, videos, etc.)
- Animal Traps
- Imitation firearms
- Alcohol and other spirits
- Precious metals and stones
The following are the prerequisite requirements for export of commodities, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables:
- The export license from HCDA
- Phytosanitary and conformity certificates from KEPHIS
- Euro 1 Certificate (For EU Market)
- GlobalGAP Certification
- MRL limit compliance (EU)
- For UK supermarkets, they require BRC certification
For those who wish to join Kenya trade should consider first joining the Kenya TradeNet System which facilitates trade by expediting and simplifying information flows between traders and the Government Agencies in order to bring meaningful gains to all parties involved in cross-border trade. The objective of the System is to facilitate International trade in Kenya by reducing delays and lowering costs associated with clearance of goods at the Kenyan borders, while maintaining the requisite controls and collection of levies, fees, duties and taxes, where applicable, on imports or exports.
How can Waystocap helps you enter the Kenyan market?
As a businessman, the most important thing you need to do is understand your market. You cannot purport to be preparing for a great future if you are not familiar with the wants and needs of your target customers. That being said, today we Waystocap would like to give you a bit of market intelligence regarding the Kenyan market.
Waystocap through intensive research has come up with different products most demanded in the Kenyan market. By knowing what goods consumers are looking for it will be easier to tailor your business to meet these needs as you deepen your market reach.