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Kenyan imports

The Top 10 Kenyan Imports: What Kenya Buys From The World

The Top 10 Kenyan Imports: What Kenya Buys From The World

Kenya is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It's home to over 40 different ethnic groups, with a population of about 44 million people. There are also many languages spoken in Kenya, with Swahili being the official language.

Kenyans import goods from all over the world, but what they buy most often might surprise you! Here are the top 10 Kenyan imports: 1) Crude oil 2) Machinery & Mechanical Appliances 3) Vehicles 4) Electronic Equipment 5) Pharmaceuticals 6) Iron and Steel 7 ) Mineral Fuels 8 ) Fertilizers 9 ) Textiles 10 ) Clothing


Section 1: The Top 10 Kenyan Imports

Kenyan imports do most of their business with East Africa and its neighbors. The main regions of East Africa are, as mentioned, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Most of their imports from the rest of Africa are because of this geographical proximity.


Apart from the proximity factor, there is also a large demand for Kenya's commodities. Africa has many natural resources, and many countries in the world need to import natural resources. This is a form of trade known as the 'resource curse'. When there is a high demand for a resource, and a limited supply, the demand for the resource is often high, and the price tends to be higher.


The high demand for natural resources means that countries may end up depending too much on the resource, and be vulnerable to price fluctuations.


What is Kenya importing?

Kenya's imports vary greatly by source. Petroleum is one of the most important products Kenya imports from abroad. The next most popular is Machinery and Mechanical Appliances. In fact, Kenya imports over 2,000 pieces of this equipment every day.


This list is comprised of the most popular imported products Kenya's population consumes on a daily basis. This means you won't see any frozen meat imports from China or Turkey on this list!


Kenya's top imports


1) Crude Oil


Petroleum is the most important product Kenya imports. Kenyan oil production started in 1963, and for the first several years, Kenyans struggled to find a way to refine their own oil. By the late 1970s, the government acquired a refinery and now exports refined products, including petrol and diesel, as well as asphalt.


Why does Kenya import these goods?

1) Petroleum


Kenya's second largest source of foreign exchange is petroleum exports, with the country producing around 1.1 million barrels of oil per day. Kenya uses crude oil to generate more than 95% of its electricity supply.


Almost all of the petroleum is consumed in the country, and the majority of it (89%) is used for transportation, with about 5% going to electricity generation. Kenya's oil pipeline has the capacity to carry 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, but capacity is now down to around 800,000 barrels per day. The pipeline serves many West African countries.


Kenya produces refined petrol (gasoline) that goes directly into the country's national consumption network. Kenya also exports gasoline that goes mainly to Uganda.


How do imports change the economy of Kenya?

About 41.7% of Kenya's GDP comes from foreign trade, and as Kenya's economy continues to grow, this number will continue to increase.


Saving energy


If you're worried about the impact of the rising demand for electricity on your electric bill, don't be. As Kenya is a country of great diversity, electricity consumption varies depending on where you live, what you're doing, and how many people are living nearby.


Kenya is the second largest oil producing country in Africa, so it has some of the highest electricity rates in the world.


Some states have a 40-60% disparity between rural and urban areas, making electricity use and cost very different from one region to another.



The global recession that began in 2008 saw the global economy slow down and many nations began to have trouble exporting goods and importing products to meet demand. This slump has forced many countries to cut back on their imports. In fact, Kenya has one of the lowest levels of imports in the world, as they import less than $1.5 billion of products every year, while exporting close to $2 billion! There are several reasons for this, but one big one is the fact that Kenya is actually one of the richest nations on the continent and does not require the import of many goods.



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