Exporting to Kenya – everything you need to know

Although UK exports to Kenya have been in decline recently, the UK is still one of the largest foreign investors in the east African nation, with bilateral trade between the countries worth more than £1.3 billion.

The top exports from the UK to Kenya include:

  • tea
  • vegetables
  • crude vegetable materials.

If you’re planning on doing business in Africa, here’s all you need to know about exporting to Kenya…

What are the pros and cons of exporting to Kenya?

Kenya has a population of around 41 million and has the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) economy in south east and central Africa.

More than 60 UK companies operate from Kenya, including Barclays bank, British Airways, Diageo, G4S, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered bank, and Unilever – and if you want the to join them, the benefits of doing business in Kenya include:

  • fully liberalised economy – free flow of trade and foreign private investment
  • good financial and legal systems compared to sub-Saharan Africa
  • skilled workforce
  • regional entry point for the east Africa region – Nairobi serves as a regional economic hub
  • well established private sector
  • English is the official language
  • daily flights from the UK

There will be some obstacles to overcome though, such as:

  • strong competition from the east, especially on price
  • security threats
  • infrastructure limitations
  • can be high cost of doing business (such as taxes)
  • bureaucracy
  • counterfeiting
  • high levels of corruption (145 out of 175 on the corruption index)

Kenya can be a tough place to do business and if you’re trading there you need to take the necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the UK Bribery Act.

If you’re doing business in Kenya, you’ll need a reliable and cost-effective teleconference provider to help keep on top of business matters with overseas colleagues and clients. Here’s How to set up a conference call between the UK and Kenya.

And remember, you can now screen share and video conference, using Crankwheel.

How does tax work in Kenya?

The main tax rates in Kenya are:

  • VAT – Basic goods are taxed at a rate of 16%. Some essential items like maize and wheat flour, sanitary pads and rice are exempt from VAT.
  • Corporation tax – charged at 30%
  • Income tax – ranges from 10% to 30%, depending upon income.

How will I be affected by customs in Kenya?

Kenya has some very stringent customs regulations, check out Kenya Revenue Authority for more information.

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