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Authentic Kenyan art and design products key to diversifying exports – EPC

Display of Kenya iconic basket – the ‘Kiondo’/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Culturally inspired art and home decor products have the potential to grow and diversify Kenya’s exports offering and contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

Chief Executive Officer Export Promotion Council Peter Biwott says there  is growing demand for Kenya’s authentic art and design offering.

“If you look at the export strategy, we have identified these items as having a huge impact on the country’s GDP since that is what many of our tourists are looking for,” he said.

Biwott’s sentiments come at a time when the global market value for handicrafts is projected to grow to USD 857 billion by 2020. Kenya’s share of this market is considered small compared to the country’s annual average exports of USD 15 million.

He urged various Kenyan traders to consider diversifying the export product portfolio, which has the potential to make Kenya a manufacturing hub.

“We also need to consider moving away from the country’s traditional export of agricultural produce which is often affected by the increasingly erratic weather patterns,” he added.

According to data by Trade Law Centre, Kenya’s export to the rest of the world has risen to 5.8 billion US dollars with agriculture produce remaining the country’s stronghold with coffee, tea, and spices constituting 29 percent of export value worth Sh1.7 trillion.

The value of Kenya’s clothing export primarily under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)stands at Sh600 billion.

The leading export destinations are Pakistan, Uganda and the United States.

Growing Kenya’s exports and creating new markets for the country’s products are among the top challenges affecting trade in Kenya.

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