Kenya and Ukraine are working to double bilateral trade from last year’s total value of Sh92 billion by investing in agriculture, tourism and exports of services.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Kenya, Andriy Pravednyk, said his government will work with Kenyan officials to increase the number of Ukrainian tourists, opening new markets in return.
Speaking in Mombasa to Ukrainian journalists visiting Kenya, Mr Pravednyk said that before the end of this year, the number of charter flights from the eastern European country will increase to 10 from the current one per month.
“We have entered into a tourism partnership with Kenya and currently we have three direct flights from Ukraine to Kenya but before the end of this year we project to have at least 10 direct flights,” he said.
He added, “We are working with Ukraine tour operators to achieve this and this will play a big part in reviving the sector that is reeling from the effects of Covid-19.”
He also said they are working with Kenyan businesses to take advantage of the ready tea, coffee and herbs markets in Ukraine to boost exports.
“The Ukraine government has positioned itself to invest more in Kenya by exporting blockchain technology services apart from agriculture machineries and military cache. We intend to bring modern helicopters to be used in both parks and in the military,” Mr Pravednyk said.
Ukraine has been a major arms supplier to the Kenya Defence Forces and in 2008, Nairobi bought 33 Soviet-era T-72 tanks from Kyiv that were integrated into the Kenyan army.
In 2020 bilateral trade between Ukraine and Kenya amounted to Sh92 billion, shows data from the State Statistics Service of Ukraine
Ukraine is the second-largest grain exporter in the world, and has sold to Kenya grain worth about Sh15 billion annually since 2013.
Exports from Ukraine to Kenya in 2020 totalled Sh78 billion, representing an increase of 112.6 percent compared with 2019, while imports recorded Sh13 billion, an increase of 137.9 from the previous year.
In 2019, the positive balance of foreign trade between Ukraine and Kenya amounted to Sh65 billion.
The main items imported from Ukraine in 2020 were cereals, oilseeds and seeds, animal or vegetable fats and oils, whereas the main exports from Kenya were coffee, tea, edible fruits and nuts, and tobacco.
Mr Pravednyk said more trade deals between the two countries are expected to be reached next month when Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo visits Ukraine.
Mombasa Youth, Gender and Sports executive Innocent Mugabe, who represented Governor Hassan Joho at the event, said the recently signed tourism partnership between Mombasa and the Ukrainian government will help revive the tourism sector, which is reeling from the effects of Covid-19.
“We have prioritised tourism in our agenda and with cooperation with the Ukraine government, we hope to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that have brought tourism to its knees,” he said.