An employee shows coffee beans at the Central Kenya Coffee Mill near Nyeri  County. Photo: Reuters

Kenya exports most of its goods and services to Africa than any other continent, a survey conducted by the country’s bureau of statistics, KNBS, shows.

In 2022, the East African nation exported a total of Ksh873.1 billion ($7.4 billion) globally.

Some Ksh357.7 billion ($3 billion) worth of goods and services, which is 41 per cent of the cumulative exports value, ended up in Africa.

Tea remained Kenya’s highest export earner at Ksh163.3 billion ($1.4 billion).

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said in a survey report released Wednesday that the country, however, still imports more than it ships out.

Kenya imported a total of Sh1.62 trillion ($13.7 billion), which is nearly double the value of exports, the KNBS report said.

Petroleum products accounted for 37 per cent of the imports at Ksh597.7 billion ($5.1 billion), the survey indicated.

Kenya’s trade operations in the African market increased in 2022.

The total value of exports to the continent rose from Ksh309.3 billion ($2.6 billion) in 2021 to Ksh357.7 billion ($3 billion) in 2022. Imports from African nations, on the other hand, rose from Ksh230.8 billion ($1.96 billion) in 2021 to Ksh273.6 billion ($2.3 billion) over the same period.

“This growth was mainly occasioned by a 17.7 per cent increase in exports to the East African Community (EAC) economic bloc which accounted for 63.3 per cent of the total exports to Africa,” said the KNBS.

The neighbouring Uganda remained Kenya’s most lucrative market, accounting for 11.1 of the total export earnings. In 2022 alone, a total of Ksh97.2 billion ($824.6 million) worth of goods and services was exported to Uganda.

Crude palm oil was Kenya’s main export commodity to Uganda.

The country’s other key markets are Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Egypt, DRC and Ethiopia.

“Exports to Tanzania grew by 25.9 per cent to Ksh57.4 billion ($487 million) in 2022 on account of increased exports of iron and non-alloy steel. Exports to Rwanda increased by 31.6 per cent to KSh40.2 billion ($341 million) attributable to growth in palm oil exports in the same period,” said the KNBS.

Whereas many agricultural cash crops witnessed a decreased production in Kenya due to drought, the production of sugarcane and coffee improved, the KNBS said.

Maize, a staple crop in Kenya, saw production volume reduce from 36.7 million bags in 2021 to 34.3 million bags in 2022 due to depressed rainfall, the report said.

Agriculture remained the dominant sector in Kenya’s economy, accounting for 21.2 per cent of the overall GDP in 2022.


As the East African nation recovers from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, the job outlook is promising as 2022 recorded an improvement in employment opportunities, both in the private and public sectors.

“Employment in the informal sector rose by 4.6 per cent to 16.0 million jobs. Wage employment in the private sector recorded a growth of 4.8 per cent from 1.98 million jobs in 2021 to 2.08 million jobs in 2022,” said the KNBS.

“Within the public sector, wage employment increased from 923,100 jobs in 2021 to 937,900 jobs in 2022,” added the national statistics agency.

As a result of the increased job opportunities, a total of Ksh2.6 trillion ($22.1 billion) was paid out as wages to employees in both private and public sectors in 2022. This was a rise from Sh2.4 trillion (21.9 billion) recorded the previous year.