Kenya - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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The primary U.S. exports to Kenya are aircraft parts, liquefied butanes, plastics, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, machinery, and cereal/wheat. The most promising commercial opportunities in Kenya are in agriculture and agro-processing, aviation parts, infrastructure services, education, energy storage and transmission, ICT hardware and software, healthcare equipment, safety and security technologies, and e-services. In 2021, the strongest performing sectors of the economy included manufacturing (6.9%), wholesale and retail trade (7.9%), real estate (6.7%), transportation and storage (7.2%), and financial and insurance activities (12.5%) (KNBS).

U.S.-Kenya trade discussions, a strong post-COVID-19 rebound, increased regional and continental integration, a growing digital economy, increased liquidity in its capital markets, and public sector opportunities are all factors that create a sense of optimism for the Kenyan market. Kenya serves as a springboard for international firms looking to enter the region and remains a commercial hub. Linkages from Kenya to other parts of the continent will only be strengthened with increased integration of the EAC and the AfCFTA.

Kenya remains a regional leader in the digital economy. According to Statista’s Kenya Country Report, digital revenues totalled $1.4 billion. Key contributors included e-commerce (76.1%), digital media (10.3%), travel e-commerce (9.0%) and e-services (4,7%). According to the KNBS Economic Survey 2022, the value of mobile commerce, which includes transactions via mobile money, pay bills and till number platforms, increased from $80 million in 2020 to  $127.3 million in 2021. The value of mobile commerce transactions grew by 63.2% to $12.7 billion in 2021. However, recently passed legislation directly impacting U.S. companies include the Data Protection Act of 2019 and the digital service tax (Finance Bill 2020). The tax of 1.5% went into effect in January 2021 and imposes a 1.5% tax on any transaction that occurs in Kenya through a digital marketplace.

Government investments are a large part of GDP growth for Kenya, with most of these investments centering on transportation infrastructure. The government has ongoing expansion projects in rail, port, and road networks in order to increase Kenya’s attractiveness as an investment destination and retain its position as the economic hub for the region.

Kenya is also seeking to expand opportunities in Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) through an overhauled PPP legislation. The Kenya PPP Act 2021 seeks to streamline the regulatory framework for PPPs, and enhance efficiency in the PPP process by reducing the number of oversight approvals and proposing timelines on key project processes and stages.

Additional information on opportunities is found in this report’s “Leading Sector for U.S. Exports and Investment” section.