The Star (Nairobi)

6 May 2011

Kenya: Trade with India is Not Balanced

Trade balance between India and Kenya is lopsided, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said. Mombasa branch chairman James Mureu said the trade balance leans more towards India. He said the two countries have almost the same products but there are less exports to India than imports.

Mureu attributed the imbalanced trade to the fact that India is more industrialized than Kenya and India's bigger population. "One of the areas that has brought this imbalance is the fact that India is very industrialized and produces a lot of industrial equipment which we import. That is probably where the balance of trade tilts in India's favour," he said.

India's assistant High Commissioner to Kenya A. R. Radhakrishnan agreed that India-Africa trade favours India most. But he said this is because the Kenyan business community has not exploited her full potential.

The trade between India and Kenya is currently estimated to be worth about Sh99.6 billion with 80 per cent of this being India's exports to Kenya and only 20 per cent being Kenya's exports to India.

Radhakrishnan urged the Kenyan business community to invest more on cereals which are in high demand in India so as to offset the trade imbalance. "We majorly export machineries and pharmaceutical items to Kenya, but there is great demand for cereals and other vegetables such as pulses and legumes," said the assistant high commissioner.

He said Kenya has the potential to develop faster than other African countries due to its human resource, ICT and the high literacy levels, which should be explored more. "Kenya is a country where ICT has developed to an impressive level and this should be sustained by having better relations. In this respect I am sure Indian companies can take part in the development of ICT in Kenya," said Radhakrishnan.

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