alexa We can emulate the successful sports model to boost exports - Daily Nation

We can emulate the successful sports model to boost exports

Tuesday August 6 2019

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win the elite men's race of the 2019 London Marathon in central London on April 28, 2019. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL |

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win the elite men's race of the 2019 London Marathon in central London on April 28, 2019. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL |  AFP

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Kenya seeks to join the league of high-income economies with prospects for all her citizens enjoying a higher quality of life.

The growth of productive sectors to enable production of quality products for export is encouraging.

The idea is to ensure every Kenyan has adequate disposable income to meet all the basic needs and still have amounts to buy other needs.

Kenya’s per capita income is still less than Sh200,000 per individual. We need to grow it to above Sh400,000 to attain the upper middle-income economic status.

The Big Four Agenda provides an acceleration for Kenya to pace its macroeconomic convergence process towards sustained economic growth and development.

Kenya transitioned to market economy in the 1990s, opening itself up to international competition.


Which is why today, Kenya has been implementing export promotion strategies that have lifted exports every year to an all-time high in 2018 of Sh613 billion.


The aim is to grow exports to bridge the Sh1.15 trillion gap in 2018. For a good performance that guarantees citizens high income, increased participation by citizens in the productive sectors is crucial.

Increased production of high quality and quantity of exportable products is necessary to satisfy the needs of local and global consumers.

There are examples of growth-oriented sectors that have given best practice that Kenya can grow to international standards.

The key requirement is production of competitive exportable products that meet global standards and of same value as similar products globally within consumers’ reach.

Our manufacturing, telecommunication, sports and financial sectors have proven that Kenya is a hub for profitable ventures that grow from small, medium enterprises to transnational corporations.

Many local companies operate within the continent to take advantage of the lucrative market for manufactured and/or value-added products that fetch Kenya foreign exchange.


Of critical interest is our talent sector. The country continues to earn millions of dollars and global attention from sports such as rugby, athletics and football, where Kenya is now known globally as an icon of success.

Athletics has emerged as a leading foreign exchange earner for Kenya.

As the home of champions, Kenya is well known for its leadership in mid and long-distance races since the 1960s.

Undoubtedly, athletics has become a pinnacle of Kenya’s brand in the world, improving the country’s image, enhancing inflow of tourists and investors.

Notably, Kenya has been able to develop the export service from village, county, national to international levels. In the villages, thousands of athletes train daily in preparation for local and global events.

Kenya has dominated with 40 per cent of men [holding] long-distance running titles from 1980 to date. Today, Kenya holds 22 world records in athletics.


During the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Kenya made history in the 1,500-metre race that has never been broken by winning 20 metres ahead of a World record holder.

In addition, Kenya booked a place both in the IAAF Hall of Fame and Athletics of the Year Award, respectively, in 2012 and 2018.

The latest is the naming of Iten town in Elgeyo-Marakwet County as the IAAF Heritage site, showing the significance of our country in athletics.

There you will find athletics enthusiasts who have visited the country to experience the high-altitude sites that have produced world champions.

For Kenya’s products, the same applies in our participation in local, regional and world trade fairs, exhibitions and expositions.

Kenya’s participation in World Expo Astana, Kazakhstan, in 2017 as well as the Uganda and Dar es Salaam International trade fairs and exhibitions in 2018 has continued to link our exporters to markets, injecting into Kenya the much-needed foreign exchange.


In 2018, Kenya’s exports to Kazakhstan increased by over nine per cent with tea constituting 85 per cent of the exports.

The same is being replicated in China, where with an aggressive trade and investment promotion, exports increased by 10 per cent.

The recent first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo between June 27-29 in Changsha, Hunan in China, where Kenya showcased her leading exportable products, saw the country scale up the promotion of tea, coffee, avocado, handicrafts and flowers.

The same is replicated in the ongoing International Horticulture Expo in Beijing (April 29-October 7), where Kenya is promoting horticulture, tourism, sports and culture.

Such platforms will showcase our goods and services and enhance our forex earnings.

Mr Biwott is the chief executive officer, Export Promotion Council.