Promoting Kenya’s exports: A country- and – product – specific analysis

Sherillyn Raga, Dirk Willem te Velde and Maximiliano Mendez- Parra, December 2021


The Government of Kenya and its support agencies depend on product-specific and export-destination-specific data analysis to help target appropriate polices to support Kenya’s exports. Despite the weak performance in output in 2020, the value of Kenyan goods exports remained relatively resilient by recording growth of 3.3%, up from $5.8 billion in 2019 to $6 billion in 2020 (UNCTAD, 2021). Exports of goods and services could be an important channel for Kenya’s economic recovery from Covid-19, yet they have been falling as a percentage share of gross domestic product (GDP), down from 22% in 2010 to 10% in 2020. Hence, much remains to be done to promote Kenya’s exports. This paper analyses promising exports at the level of product and export destination. It has two major parts: the main part is an empirical analysis of comparative advantage of Kenya’s exports, followed by a review of constraints to develop Kenya’s exports and a set of suggestions.

Farmer harvesting his crops on a farm in Kenya. Peter Kapuscinski / World Bank.  License: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)