Prospects for Pakistan-kenya trade
Pakistan’s relations with Kenya began in the 1960s when Pakistan offered unanimous support to the Kenyan people in seeking independence from British rule. Kenya and Pakistan have historical and cultural ties which have augmented bilateral relations between both countries. The warm and cordial ties gained strength when Kenya established its mission in Islamabad 27 years back.
Kenya’s new policy of ‘ Look East’ has laid emphasis on Pakistan to promote trade and development in the mutual interest of both nations. In fact, Kenya looks at Pakistan as an important country which Kenya can benefit from.
The enhanced level of interest by Kenya in Pakistani products was depicted in 2003 when Pakistan’s exports to Kenya stood at $ 57.482 million. The Kenyan Foreign Minister said, “Kenya values its friendship with Pakistan and it expresses the desire for further deepening of economic and commercial ties between the two countries”.
Kenya is one of the major producers of tea in the world, while Pakistan is the largest consumer of Kenyan tea and a major exporter of rice to Kenya. In March 2009, Pakistan imported 3,431 tonnes of tea, a 38 percent rise compared to 2,473 tonnes in the same month the previous year.
Pakistan’s exports to Kenya include wheat, rice, textiles, woven cotton fabrics, special synthetic fabrics, knitted and crocheted fabrics and medical and pharmaceutical products. Pakistan has also exported IT technology to Kenya through NADRA, which has replicated its Machine Readable Passports, one of the world’s most secure and standardized passports meeting all International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO) standards. project is deployed in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
On the other hand, Kenya’s exports to Pakistan consist of tea, hides and skins, fashion apparel, chemical elements of compounds, leather and its products, iron, steel, machinery, vegetables, synthetic textile fibres and road vehicles.
Kenya has agreed to reduce duty on Pakistani goods from 40 to 25 percent in order to enhance their market. In return Pakistan has offered a $5 million credit line to Kenya for importing engineering and manufacturing goods.
As a significant trade measure, the Trade Development Authority ( TDAP) has set up a warehouse innairobi and at the port in Mombasa to market Pakistani products in the Kenyan market. Pakistan opened its first warehouse in Nairobi in 2006.
While both countries offer plenty of opportunities to enhance bilateral trade, the present volume of trade is not up to full potential. This is due to the fact that trade is still limited to certain areas and not fully explored. But future trade prospects remain fruitful, as the two countries are blessed with a lot of natural resources and business intelligence with the ability to tap diverse sectors of the economy.
For this reason, businessmen of both countries are being encouraged to explore joint trade ventures in various sectors and participate in each others’ trade fairs for boosting the trade volume. Presently, volume of bilateral trade is tilted heavily in favour of Kenya. Therefore in order to achieve a better balance, effective strategies are required for enhancing Pakistan’s exports to Kenya