Uhuru's China Exploits Betrayed Kenyan Workers - Report

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Chinese President Xi Jinping met in China on August 19, 2013. File
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta's relationship with the Chinese government might have played a big role in the economic problems that the country finds itself in at the moment.

    A report from the Standard newspaper on Sunday, December 15, indicated that with China's relationship with Africa coming to fruition, Kenya's export power in various sectors was severely cut down, leading to massive job losses.

    This was because the Chinese entry into the market turned Kenya's erstwhile trade partners in the direction of the Chinese and the Indian countries at the expense of Kenya.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting in China on August 13, 2013.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting in China on August 19, 2013.

    The cement industry was reported to have been seriously affected, with the export earnings dropping by 80 percent to Ksh1.5 billion in 2018 from Ksh7.5 billion in 2010.

    Export of wood products also dropped by 65 percent from Ksh648 million to Ksh225 million between 2010 and 2018, and the textile industry and low-lying fruit fell short by a third during the same period.

    The export of machinery and transport equipment, aluminum and metal containers was also reported to have shrunk, with the manufacturing sector's contribution to the economy dropping from 10 percent in 2010 to 7.7 percent in 2018.

    The glass industry was portrayed as the worst hit, with the export of glassware having taken a massive drop from Ksh1.9 trillion in 2011 to Ksh927 billion in 2018.

    The reason for the upheavals in the country's export market in the East Africa region and Comesa was reported to be because the countries in the trading blocs either found ways to manufacture their products or found new trade partners in China and India.

    The reports also indicate that while Kenya's exports were in a steady decline, the country's imports were steadily increasing as the country's trade surplus narrowed.

    Uganda saw its exports to Kenya rise to Ksh49.4 billion in 2018 as compared to Ksh19.3 billion in 2016, a trend that has been replicated by other countries in the same economic bloc with Kenya.

    Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta after their joint press conference at State House in Mombasa on March 27, 2019.
    Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta after their joint press conference at State House in Mombasa on March 27, 2019.

    This trade imbalance has led to the loss of jobs in various sectors, with the agricultural manufacturing sector having shed off over 12,000 jobs between 2014 and 2018, the employers blaming the layoff on the increased cost of production, punitive tax regimes and high cost of credit.