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A Look at Kenya’s Largest Commodity Exports

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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As with most major economies, the financial stability of Kenya is heavily dependent upon its exports. These help to maintain the health and wealth of the country, being core contributors to gross domestic product margins.  

Kenya exports roughly $3.4 billion worth of products per year. Most of these end up in a handful of countries, with the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands representing three key trading partners.

Over 35 percent of Kenyan exports are transported to other African countries, while an additional 30 percent go to Asia, 24 percent to Europe, and 8.4 percent to North America. But what are the country’s biggest commodities? This article will seek to explore that.

Plants and trees

Source: Pixabay

Kenya’s biggest export will come as a surprise to some, but considering the country’s temperate climate and ideal growing conditions, it actually makes a lot of sense. That’s because the country’s primary commodity in 2019 was live trees, plants, and cut flowers, which represented 22.6 percent of its total exports.

This export group brings in a combined total of $779.4 million per year, with global nurseries, wholesalers, and private growers dependent upon Kenya to meet their needs. This market has a predicted annual growth rate of 4.7 percent for 2021-2026, with the demand for flowers expected to increase over the next two years.

The main export markets for these floriculture products are the Netherlands, UK, United Arab Emirates, and Germany, which account for 70.9 percent of the country’s exports.    

Coffee, tea, and spices

Source: Pixabay

Another of Kenya’s major commodities is this grouping: coffee, tea, and spices. Contributing $612 million, or 17.8 percent, to the country’s export total, these are a core contributor to GDP and tend to enjoy steady global demand.

That’s because the appetite for tea, coffee, and spices doesn’t tend to be influenced by external factors. Even when finances are tight, most people can still afford these small luxuries – indeed, many view them as necessities. As a result, tea, coffee, and spice exports contribute a marked amount to the country’s economy each year. Many investors see them as a useful addition to diversify their portfolio as a result of this steady demand, with companies like INFINOX allowing them to easily trade commodities online. As commodities are ultimately goods, they are often seen as areas of value for a future investment.

Clothing and accessories

Source: Pixabay

Also important to GDP is the export of clothing and accessories. These contribute around $307.3 million per year to the economy and account for 8.8 percent of the country’s total exports.

In 2018, the Kenyan government unveiled several initiatives aimed at stimulating this industry, with the aim of doubling the country’s apparel shipments to the United States over the ensuing five years. This shows how important this export market is to the country and its financial growth and stability.  

When it comes to assessing Kenya’s biggest exports, it’s clear that the three mentioned above reign supreme. As a result, they contribute a huge amount to GDP each year and are major components in maintaining the country’s financial health and long-term growth prospects.

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