Exports Promotion Council Director Bramwell Simiyu says Egypt is a medium sized economy and there is need to leverage on other opportunities available.
Simiyu says tea accounts for 95 percent of exports to Egypt and the council is looking at introducing horticulture, livestock, beverages and services to export to Egypt’s exports.
“With the instability in Egypt in the recent past, unless we are able to diversify the product menu, we stand a risk of losing out on other opportunities that are there,” he said.
Simiyu says currently, Kenya’s imports almost double exports to Egypt, and the council is working to reverse the trade imbalance.
“We still have a trade deficit. The value of our exports is slightly below Sh600 billion but we import goods worth almost Sh1.2 trillion, our challenge is really to bridge that gap and our view is to move away from the traditional exports which include tea, coffee and tourism,” he said.
He says the council’s new strategy is to take advantage of the local and regional markets, pointing out the nearer markets are better, and expanding away from the traditional goods to products like human resources as well as sports tourism.
He says the entry conditions for the regional market are much more flexible and by focusing on products produced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) achieving a 20 percent increase in exports every year will be realized.
“SMEs have a very little share on the export market and that is part of the reason we want to focus on regional market which will possibly add 20 to 40 percent of exports in the country.
The council is carrying out research in the potential markets so that it can identify the priority market and product.
He was speaking on Thursday at the launch of the Kenya Chemex International Trade Fair that will feature over 50 chemical manufacturers from Kenya, Egypt and India from November 19-21, 2013.
Participants will have a chance to see manufactured products and services offered in the area of plastics, packaging paints paper pharmaceuticals bottling and general glass among many others.