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Chamber of Commerce roots for value addition to boost exports

By For Citizen Digital

Containers at the port of Mombasa. Photo/FILE
Containers at the port of Mombasa. Photo/FILE

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) is focusing on improving exports competitiveness in a bid to narrow down the continuous increase in balance of trade deficit.

According to the Chairman KNCCI, Kiprono Kittony, focus on value addition to agricultural products and positioning of the business driver exports on the diplomacy economic agenda are key to improving the country’s exports.

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“We need to look at enhancing value of our agricultural produce as you know we continue to export coffee and tea in a commoditized form but we need to do more value addition to that and other commodities,” Mr Kittony said in an interview with Citizen Digital.

The chamber of commerce has developed a National Industrialization Master plan eyeing reforms in the agricultural sector to boost earnings.

Between January and April 2016, Kenya’s trade deficit stood at Sh246 billion as the country’s volume of imports dropped. Mr Kittony said that points to a change in the balance of trade, emphasizing the need to narrow the gap further.

Kenya imports mostly machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics with main import partners being India, China, UAE, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United States and Japan.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry is currently working on a direct market access to India for the exportation of textile products.

According to Mr Kittony, it is essential for the country to focus on the tourism sector’s upward trajectory since the market is a huge foreign exchange earner.

“I also think that tourism is something that we are not focusing enough and you know tourism is an export because it’s a foreign exchange earner and I believe that really the time has come for us to have a very clear export driven strategy to make sure that we derive the highest value of our export” Mr. Kittony added.

Reporting by Beatrice Eghwa

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