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Kenya Hits $1.2bn Surplus in Trade with Africa 




Kenya’s earnings on goods exported to African countries exceeded expenditure on imports by a record $1.2bn in 2023 boosting the government’s renewed goals for integrating markets in the African continent.  

According to a report by the East African, the value of goods sold to other African countries amounted to $3.22bn last year, a growth of 22.99% over $2.62bn the year before.  

The increased earnings were experienced at a time when expenditure on imports remained largely flat, rising a paltry 0.31% to $2bn, according to data collated by the Central Bank of Kenya.  

Kenya’s export earnings were largely lifted by increased demand for cement clinkers, lubricants, wheat flour, food preparations, and re-exports of kerosene-type jet fuel, an analysis of leading economic indicators for 2023 suggests.  

African countries with the highest demand for Kenyan exports include Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Egypt, Somalia, and South Sudan.  


Uganda remains the largest market for Kenyan goods with earnings crossing the Sh100billion mark for the first time.  

Kenyan traders earned a whooping Ksh127.24 billion from orders they trucked to Uganda which is a landlocked country. Exports to Uganda, Kenya’s largest trading partner, are estimated to have climbed a 31.94 percent jump over the previous year’s Ksh96.43 billion. 

According to the Central Bank of Kenya’s provisional data, the jump in exports against an import bill of Ksh37.93 billion widened the trade surplus by 2.5 times to Ksh89.31 billion year-on-year.  


In Tanzania, Kenyan exports grew by 21.16% in the last year to Ksh68.55 billion against an import bill of Ksh43.05 billion. Orders from Tanzania were largely driven by re-exports of kerosene-type jet fuel.  

DR Congo 

In DR Congo which joined the East African Community (EAC) bloc in 2022, Kenyan Exports grew at the fastest pace of 48.49% to Ksh26.45 billion.  

According to the Kenyan Bureau of Statistics, Kenyan main exports to the DRC include wheat flour, food preparations, and preparations of organic-surface active agents.  

What To Know  

  • Kenyan President Dr. William Ruto is leading the charge in championing the removal of trade barriers in African countries to ease the movements of goods, services, and labour through the integration of regional trading blocs.  
  • This integration of African regional trading blocs would create the world’s largest single market of 1.4 billion people with an estimated economic output of more than $3 trillion under the ambitious African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).  
  • Dr Ruto also stressed the need to facilitate an intra-African trade payment system that uses African currencies of African Nations and not the dollar. This will help reduce the over-reliance on the US dollar.  

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