The Star (Nairobi)

11 July 2011

East Africa: Kenya And India See Increased Trade Ties

Trade volume between Kenya and India is projected to hit $2.1 billion (Sh189 billion) this year with expectations that the balance of payments deficit will improve.

Sibabrata Tripathi, India's High Commissioner to Kenya says within the first four months of this year, trade volume was at $700(Sh63 billion) million and continues to grow.

Though the balance of trade is still tilted in favor of India, the envoy said in an interview, Kenyan exports to the Asian country grew at a 60 per cent rate last year and foresees higher growth owing to progress in sectors like tourism and agriculture. "People in India are looking for different experiences in different parts of the world, Kenya is arousing a lot of interest as the place they can mix business and pleasure, there is increased interest from Indian tour and travel companies as demand rises," said Tripathi.

According to the ministry of Tourism, India has become the primary source market for Kenya in the Asian region, with arrivals reaching 47,611 in 2010, 32 per cent growth from four years ago.

In 2010 the goods trade between the two amounted to $1.5 billion (Sh135 billion), where Kenya exported commodities worth Sh9.64 billion to India while importing Sh117 billion and improvement from 2007 when exports to India were worth Sh5 billion compared to Sh56.85 billion imports.

Main goods exports to India are soda ash, lentils, and cashewnuts from Kenya. "We would love to import more from Kenya, agriculture is one area where there is great potential, Kenyan businesspeople should visit our market of over 1.2 billion consumers and identify opportunities," said the envoy.

There is still high interest in the other service sectors with over 30 Indian companies in Kenya, spread across various sectors like ICT, banking, insurance, engineering, and agriculture.

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