Reducing trade imbalance between Kenya & S.Africa


In the recent past, South African companies have shown renewed interest in Kenya. Nevertheless, trade relations between the two state’s remains slanted in favour of South Africa.

According to Kenya’s economic survey 2014, last year, exports from Kenya to South Africa were recorded at a staggering 3.28 billion Kenyan shillings compared to South Africa’s exports to the East African nation at 70.72 billion Kenyan shillings.

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“Part of the outreach and discussion we have with our respective countries is to try make sure we can benefit from trade. It is really a matter of taking advantage of the agreements that have been signed, which our trade ministries have been in the forefront of driving,” Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa told CNBC Africa.

A joint trade committee formed in 2011 to resolve tariff and non-tariff barriers between South Africa and Kenya endorsed a binding trade and investment pact. In 2012, the two signed agreements intended at improving commercial relations between the two regional economic powerhouses.

“There have been several agreements that have been signed by our respective governments in terms of technical and industrial corporation as well as in terms of trade and investment corporations. Companies from both sides should work to build their businesses [no matter which country it is in],” Matola said.

In July, Brand South Africa, the country’s official marketing agency, in partnership with Brand Kenya hosted a dialogue session with key stakeholders seeking ways of building stronger African brands.

“We [Brand South Africa] are here with a partnership to share insights and learnings. At the same time we are building our own brand for [respective] countries,” Matola added.

The East African nation is a gateway to the common market of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, whose combined population is more than 100 million.

“Kenya is a very significant and big economy in this region. The market integration is very attractive,” Matola said.