Taliban takeover hits Sh4bn markets in Kenya and Afghanistan
Tuesday 17th August 2021
BY BRIAN NGUGI
- Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan have declined significantly in the past five years as the US reduced its military presence in the Asian nation.
- However, Kenyan officials did not comment on the impact the Taliban takeover would have on international trade.
The new political turmoil in Afghanistan threatens to destroy Kenya’s trade with the Asian nation after nearly a decade of burglary due to the uprisings of the extremist Taliban.
Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan have peaked at around Sh 14 billion. in 2012 to 3.6 billion Sh. down last year, largely due to uncertainty after the US and its Western allies gradually relinquished control of the country’s security systems to the governments of two Afghan post-Taliban presidents, Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban’s recapture of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Sunday – around 20 years since it was overthrown by US-led forces in 2001 – means business is likely to be disrupted.
Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan have declined significantly in the past five years as the US reduced its military presence in the Asian nation in the face of the increasing offensive by the Taliban.
However, Kenyan officials did not comment on the impact the Taliban takeover would have on international trade.
“We don’t have an explanation yet,” said Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industrialization, Betty Maina, yesterday.
“We will make a statement … It goes without saying.”
Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan include coffee, tea, mate, spices, pharmaceuticals, rubber, textiles, edible vegetables, and machinery.
Tea makes up an estimated 30 percent of Kenyan exports to Afghanistan.
The decline in Kenya’s total exports to Afghanistan coincided with an atmosphere of uncertainty about difficult security, political and economic changes that has pervaded the country since early 2013.
Kenya exported Sh14.5 billion worth of goods to the country in 2015, which fell by Sh4 billion to Sh10.68 billion in 2016.
In the three following years (2017, 2018 and 2019) exports from Kenya to Afghanistan fell to Sh 3.14 billion, Sh.377 billion and Sh 3.6 billion.
Uncertainty increased during the highly competitive 2014 presidential election and eased somewhat after the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) led by President Ashraf Ghani and his chief executive officer and rival Abdullah Abdullah.
Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan fell to Sh2.3 billion last year, according to the United Nations’ COMTRADE database on international trade. Tea exports stood at 4.195 million kilograms worth Sh902 million.
On Monday, after taking the capital Kabul, the Taliban won victory in Afghanistan, ending the US-led coalition’s almost 20-year presence in the country.
The government collapsed, President Ashraf Ghani fled and Taliban fighters occupied the presidential palace.