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Kenya --Trade

Kenya typically has a substantial trade deficit with countries outside Africa.
Its ratio of imports and exports had fluctuated widely but an overall pattern decline is unmistakable. By the early 1980s, export revenues amounted to less than 60% of import costs. The deficit on current account is, however, much lower because of the favorable balance in the export of services and net transfers, which went from $173.8 million in 1985 to 68.5 million in 1986, to 520.3 million in 1990, $214.8 million in 1991, and $97.7 million in 1992, with a positive balance in 1993 at $153 million, and a comparable figure for 1994. Export revenues derive from agricultural crops like coffee, tea, sisal, pyrethrum, sugar-cane, and horticultural products. Many of these products have been subject to fluctuations in production and price in the world market.

Many Kenyan goods are exported to European Union member countries, especially the UK. But regional trade is likely to increase due to the restitution of a tri-national commission with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya has also joined COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and hopes to reduce tariffs on the sale of its exports abroad The government hhas made efforts to diversifyits economic base by stimulating production of nontraditional exports, in an attempt to reduce the dependence on the fluctuating world prices that has hampered profits on its main agricultural commodities. These efforts have encouraged production of new kinds of horticultural produce, canned pineapple products, handicrafts, clothing, leather, cement, soda ash, and fluorspar. The government is also encouraging efforts to export manufactured goods including textiles, paper, and vehicles. Most of Kenya's imports are commodities produced in the UK, Japan, and Germany. Crude oil is imported from the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 1998, Country Profile. Kenya, The Unit: London.

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