Kenya-UK Trade and Investment Relations: Taking Stock and Promoting Exports to the UK

Aarti Krishnan, Dirk Willem te Velde and Anzetse Were, July 2018




The UK and Kenya have historically close trade and investment ties; however, both the value of Kenyan exports to the UK and Kenya’s share of the UK’s imports have been declining for a decade, with regional competitors such as Rwanda and Ethiopia capturing Kenya’s market share in key export products like tea, coffee, fresh vegetables and cut flowers.

This research, produced in partnership with the Kenyan Export Promotion Council to inform its new export strategy, explores the current state of trade patterns and investment flows between the two countries and proposes a prioritisation tool to help policymakers identify promising products and sectors for export. The report posits that unless Kenya diversifies its export offer and improves the quality and marketing of its existing core export products, it will continue to lose out to its trading competitors.

Media coverage

‘High costs taking shine off tea, coffee exports to UK’, Daily Nation, 17 May (also published by Business Daily Africa)

‘High production costs could lose Kenya its competitive edge in coffee, tea and flower exports to the UK’, Brits in Kenya, 30 May

‘Government urges exporters to rebrand products’, KBC Channel, 20 July

‘Kenya’s share of UK market shrinks by 13.2 per cent’, Mediamax Network, 20 July

‘Kenya’s UK export slack opens door to regional rivals’, Citizen Digital, 20 July

‘Rwanda, Ethiopia edge out Kenya in UK trade’, The Star (Kenya), 21 July

‘Kenya loses market share to Rwanda, Dar’, Rwanda Today, 23 July (also printed in Business Daily Africa)

‘Kenya losing her UK-market to neighbouring countries’, Soko Directory, 23 July

‘Kenya’s export value to UK declining’, Kenyan Citizen TV (via YouTube)

‘Brexit offers Kenya an opportunity to negotiate beneficial trade deals’, Business Daily Africa (via YouTube)

‘Kenya-UK trade activities suffer glitches due to new policies’, Standard Media, 25 July


Photo credit: Pete Lewis/Department for International Development via Flickr