TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Kenya eyes 600m USD in exports from export zones in 2015

Friday, 13 November 2015

Source: Coastweek

Kenya is projecting that export of goods from its export zones will reach 600 million U.S. dollars in 2015, officials said on Wednesday.

Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) Chief Executive Officer Fanuel Kidenda told a business forum in Nairobi that exports in 2014 stood at less than 500 million dollars.

“The renewal of the preferential trade deal with the U.S. for another ten years is expected to lift the sales volumes from the export zones,” Kidenda said during the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum.

Under law, the export zones are required to export at least 80 percent of their production to countries outside the East African Community member states.

According to the EPZA, 86 firms are currently operating in the zones with investments amounting to 440 million dollars. Kidenda said that 34 additional firms are currently setting up base in the zones.

The CEO said Kenya has now emerged as the largest exporter of textile and apparel to the U.S. from the Sub Saharan region. He noted that Kenyan sales to the North American nation hit 380 million dollars in 2014.

“Our target is that in two years the figure will rise to 700 million dollars as Kenya is now a competitive producer of textiles products,” he said.

Kidenda noted that over 1 million Kenyans are joining workforce every year, creating a large pool of highly skilled labor force.

The export zones, which offer a ten year corporate tax holiday to investors, currently offer employment to 46,738 people.

Kidenda stated that manufacturers are now seeking to invest in Kenya as traditional exporting nations are facing higher labor costs. 

EPZA said it also planning to diversify markets of its manufactured exports. “This will cushion the industry from seasonality of demand,” Kidenda said. 

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