• Kenyan shoppers will soon have to dig deeper into their pockets to afford daily items as effects of the global coronavirus epidemic take a toll on the supply chain.
  • Kenya imports a wide range of goods from China with electronics like mobile phones topping shipment orders.
  • The retailers, who had shipped in goods in bulk ahead of the Chinese New Year in January, reckon that they will start to run out of goods from China after three weeks.

Even though not a single case of coronavirus is yet to be confirmed in Kenya according to the government, Kenyans are set to feel the heat of deadly coronavirus.

Kenyan shoppers will soon have to dig deeper into their pockets to afford daily items as effects of the global coronavirus epidemic take a toll on the supply chain.

Local retailers, including Naivas and Tuskys, have now warned that the prices of consumer goods such as clothing, furniture, mobile phones, TVs and fridges will rise this month as a result of coronavirus.

“We expect the prices of key commodities especially electronics, clothing and toys to rise because of supply hitches and the fact that we are sourcing from more expensive markets.” said Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani, Business Daily reported.

Naivas supermarket.
Naivas supermarket.

Kenya imports a wide range of goods from China with electronics like mobile phones topping shipment orders that also include clothing, kitchen ware, furniture, machinery, optical and medical equipment.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that Kenya’s total imports from China stood at Sh324.9 billion ($3.249 billion) in the first 11 months of last year with India coming a distant second with shipments worth Sh162 billion.

The retailers, who had shipped in goods in bulk ahead of the Chinese New Year in January, reckon that they will start to run out of goods from China after three weeks.

A busy street in Nairobi. (tripadvisory)
A busy street in Nairobi. (tripadvisory)

Other dealers in electronic goods such as phones and clothing have also echoed similar comments.

“There has been a glitch and it has affected a lot of operations back in China not just Oppo related. This has affected our product launches hence I have had to adjust the event of calendar for this year,” said an Oppo Kenya official in a statement.

To bridge the gap, local retailers are now looking towards other countries including Turkey and Brazil to source for the commodities. consumers will, however, pay more for the goods because the alternative markets are costly relative to China.

Cars awaiting clearance outside one of the sheds at Mombasa port.
Cars awaiting clearance outside one of the sheds at Mombasa port.

Coronavirus has so far killed more than 2,900 people in China and led to a shutdown of Hubei province in a bid to contain the spread of the virus that has seen factories across Central China closed, hurting global supply chains.

The global automotive industry is also under fire from Coronavirus and Kenyans planning to import buys from China will have to cough up more.China is not only a massive demand market for new vehicles. It is also the world’s manufacturing hub, providing an array of vital components for the automotive industry.

Now that migrant workers are being prevented from travelling, and factories running at idle frequency due to infected employees, the global automotive supply chain is facing potential failure.