Building capacity to help Africa trade better

African export performance under AGOA: a country analysis of Kenya

Trade Briefs

African export performance under AGOA: a country analysis of Kenya

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This trade brief looks at the export performance of Kenya’s trade with the United States of America (US) and, more specifically, it concentrates on the preferential trade accorded to Kenya by the US. With an estimated real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$61 billion in 2014, and a real GDP growth averaging around 5% over the past three years, Kenya is considered the economic and transport hub of East Africa. The economy is mainly driven by agriculture which contributes about 25% to GDP and also sustains 80% of Kenyans who work at least part-time in this sector. The country, however, still has high levels of unemployment (40%) and poverty despite the positive economic growth. Corruption, reliance on primary low-value commodities and infrastructure constraints are attributed to the current state of affairs in the country although its government has prioritised infrastructure development to ensure that Kenya remains on a growth and development trajectory.

The rest of the paper briefly addresses the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and recent developments since the extension of the AGOA. Eligibility criteria are also briefly discussed to provide a background to AGOA. Following this we look at the trade profile of AGOA-eligible countries focusing on their exports to the US (with or without preferences). We then narrow down the focus to Kenya’s trade with the US, also focusing on imports by the US from Kenya (Kenya’s exports). Here the analysis splits the trade under different regimes to ascertain whether the bulk of trade is benefiting from AGOA or not. We also look at the main competitors for goods exported by Kenya to the US under two regimes, AGOA (without the Generalised System of Preferences – GSP) and under the GSP (extended programme). This is then followed by a conclusion.

Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.


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