This note is a background study to assess policy options to improve competitiveness of Kenya's manufacturing sector, with a specific focus on exports. The focus is on export performance in the manufacturing sector overall and drawing on analysis of four specific manufacturing sectors - apparel, wood furniture, chemicals, and agriculture industries-which are used as examples from which to generalize about wider competitiveness issues in Kenya's manufacturing sector. Kenya's Vision 2030 aspires to achieve middle income status by 2030, which will require sustaining an annual average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 10 percent. Restarting the export sector growth engine will be imperative to achieve these targets. In particular, manufacturing exports will be critical because of their impact on growth, employment and economy-wide linkages. Kenya's manufacturing sector exhibits several strengths. Its global share in exports increased over the last 20 years, and it enjoys a strong position with regard to exports to the regional EAC market, particularly in some high value sectors like chemicals and pharmaceuticals. This background note aims to provide the new Government with policy focus and tools to tackle the constraints keeping Kenya from reaching its potential in manufacturing export competitiveness. This note has a specific focus on export performance; it also looks more broadly at the manufacturing sector, including domestic production and sales, where such data is available. As a result, it uses a mix of analytical approaches in the study.
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