#BTColumn – Connecting Kenya and Barbados

The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.

by Dr. Jan Yves Remy and Ms. Chelcee Brathwaite

On the sidelines of the UNCTAD XV Conference hosted by Barbados on 3-7 October 2021, a growing courtship between Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was entering a new phase. While trade officials were busy negotiating the final text of the Bridgetown Covenant at the UNCTAD XV plenary session, Barbados was also playing host to a high-level Kenyan contingent of officials and business persons at a Kenya-Barbados Business Forum.

The Forum was organized for the Kenyans and their Barbadian counterparts to exchange best practices and consider business opportunities in the fields of finance and investment; telecommunications and digitisation; travel and tourism; energy; transportation and logistics; and biotechnology and bio trade.

The Forum appears to have been successful and culminated in the signing of three agreements: an Air Services Agreement; a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the Establishment of a Joint Committee on Trade and Investment; and an MOU in the Development of the National Botanical Garden. In this SRC Trading Thoughts we explore what business and trade opportunities might truly lie in the growing ties between Barbados and Kenya.

Existing trade between Barbados & Kenya

Current trade between Barbados and Kenya is sparse and undiversified.

According to the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade Map, Barbados’ total merchandise trade with Kenya in 2020 was only US$ 69,000 – accounting for a mere 0.004 per cent of its global trade – with imports predominantly in textiles and women’s clothing and exports of an unspecified nature. Trade in services between the two countries could not be quantified. From this poor baseline, opportunities exist for realising export growth and diversification on both sides.

According to the ITC’s Export Potential Map, rum, printed paper(-board) labels, and undenatured ethyl alcohol are the products with greatest export potential from Barbados to Kenya; while for Kenya, exports with the greatest potential to Barbados could include black tea (packings 3kg), goat meat, and pineapples (prepared or preserved).

In terms of export diversification, ITC’s Export Potential Map found crude palm oil; palm oil (excl. crude) and fractions; and mixtures of odoriferous substances used in food and drink to be Barbados’ best options for export diversification in Kenya; while prepared or preserved tunas, oranges, fresh or dried and broken rice are Kenya’s best options […]

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