South Africa's finds a willing market in Kenya and dislodges US

Pretoria is now Kenya’s sixth biggest seller of commodities followed by USA.

Regionally, South Africa is Kenya’s top seller while globally, China remains the biggest seller of goods to Nairobi, having shipped in Sh273 billion worth of goods in the year to August, ahead of second-placed India (Sh117 billion)

Imports from South Africa grew by Sh11 billion in the first eight months of the year that saw Africa’s most industrialised economy overtake the United States in sales to Kenya.

As a result, Pretoria is now Kenya’s sixth biggest seller of commodities followed by USA.

Kenya imported goods worth Sh42.7 billion from South Africa, a 34 per cent growth from Sh31.7 billion in a similar period a year earlier.

Wines and other alcoholic drinks, cars, spare parts, oil lubricants and machinery made in South Africa were some of the top selling products in Kenya.

Imports from the US similarly grew to Sh40.2 billion in the eight-month window, from Sh34.2 billion, according to data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Thw same cannot be said about Kenya though, business was not great down south, the country’s exports to Africa’s most industrialised economy still remains low.Kenya’s exports is less than Sh5 billion in the period with the country not featuring among the top 11 buyers of goods from Nairobi, the KNBS data shows.

South African companies with operations in Kenya include MultiChoice, SABMiller, and Massmart (Game brand) while thousands of Kenyans are frequent travellers to South Africa for business and leisure.

Kenya and South Africa have been at loggerheads for some time with unfriendly business policies hindering smooth business transactions.

However, effort is being made to remove business blocks with the two countries even hatching a plan to co-own a cruise ship by 2020.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma also visited Kenya in 2016 where he meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta in a bid to to strengthen more bilateral ties between the two countries.

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