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Kenya to boost industrial competitive-
ness to reverse decline of exports

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to boost its industrial competitiveness in order to reverse decline of exports to the East African Community (EAC), officials said on Wednesday.

Adan Mohammed, cabinet secretary at the Ministry of the EAC and Regional Development, told a media briefing in Nairobi that the other EAC member states are currently industrializing and are therefore able to produce products that they once imported from Kenya.

“As a country we are focusing on improving our competitiveness so that we can regain our export markets within the EAC,” Mohammed said.

EAC partner states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Government data indicates that in 2017 Kenyan exports to Tanzania fell to 285 million U.S. dollars, down from a high of 460 million dollars in 2012.

The data also shows that in 2017, Kenyan exports to Uganda declined to 618 million dollars, from a high of 760 million dollars in 2011.

Mohamed said that the other EAC partner states are also keen to take advantage of the free movement of goods to export their products to Kenya.

He observed that the only way Kenya can expand its export to the trading bloc is by ensuring it can produce goods at a more competitive cost.

Kenya has identified all the key constraints that have made the country to have a high cost of production, Mohamed said.

He said Kenya’s ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rating, at 136th in 2014, rose to position 80 last year. It targets to hit top 50 by 2020.

“The trajectory towards this goal continues to be on track, as competitiveness in the EAC and globally heightens as a critical ingredient to attracting investments,” he said.

Mohamed noted that Kenya has made significant investments in infrastructure such as the Standard Gauge Railway, and increased the supply of energy as a critical enabler to improving competitiveness.


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