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Apparel exports tumbles along with US economy
Jun '08
Despite availing the benefits of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the export of apparels to US, largest client of Kenya, declined in the month of May due to global recession particularly in the economy of the super power.

Kenyan exports have witnessed a rapid downtrend since last year as Asian and Chinese exports surged remarkably. However, the recent dramatic drop in garment exports can only be attributed to US slowdown which is causing the country's export processing zones (EPZs) to slip into doldrums following job cuts and diversion of capital investments to Asian countries.

May sales were down by 1.1 percent when compared to the same month last year. While women apparels saw a drop of 5.4 percent, footwear sales decreased by 1.0 percent.

Low export orders from the US are resulting in shutdown of some of the biggest and most active apparel enterprises. Athi River-based Rising Sun, MRC EPZ, Global Apparels and Ruaraka-based Apex are just a few to name.

Nonetheless, the EPZA has built up hopes among garment entrepreneurs urging them to diversify their exports to countries or regions other than the US. Domestic firms are still demanding an extension of AGOA and have secured similar benefits with the European countries which will help them to tide over the present crisis.

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