Released On 28th Sep 2021

How to Import Goods into Kenya

In the latest in our country blog series, we explore Kenya, and focus on how to import your goods to this wild, beautiful, raw and original country. 

With a growing economy, Kenya is packing a punch with its IT infrastructure imports, supplying the nation with the tools it needs to support their workers and businesses through the pandemic and beyond. 

As with many developing countries, Kenya’s drive to expand its infrastructure is not faltering, and the country is working hard to replicate public systems in the developed world. This encourages international trade and helps retain their membership to key global organisations. 

Useful facts

Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which elected officials represent the people, and the President is the head of state and government. Kenya is a member of international organisations such as the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, COMESA, the International Criminal Court, and others. 

Its economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa, with Nairobi serving as a major regional commercial hub. (Source: Wikipedia)

  • ISO Code: KE
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Official Language(s): English – Swahili 
  • Currency: KES
  • Dialing Code: 254
  • Internet TLD: .KE
  • Time Zone: BST+2

Importing goods to Kenya 

Conformity Assessment Programme (CAP)

For all imports into Kenya, a Conformity Assessment Programme was brought in from 1st December 2015 to check that goods are safe, and conform to the country’s national standards.

Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVOC)

As standard, a PVOC (Pre-export Verification of Conformity) Certificate is a mandatory document requirement for consignments prior to shipment, to ensure compliance to Kenya’s Bureau of Standards (KEBS). This organisation assures Kenyan consumers of safe, high-quality goods that meet or surpass approved specifications. 

Gaining a PVOC Certificate involves several steps, including payment of the required fees, as set out by KEBS. Approval is provided in the form of a mandatory Certificate of Conformity (CoC), which is necessary for Customs clearance. 

Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

There are different routes to gaining a Certificate of Conformity, depending on whether you are an occasional or regular exporter, a high-volume exporter or a consolidator registered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards – there’s a helpful video here, with more detail of what each route involves). 

Every shipment needs a CoC, issued by an authorised testing body such as SGS or Intertek, to prove that it meets Kenya’s compliance regulations. This might involve an on-site inspection of the manufacturing plant and testing of the product to be imported.

The Certificate of Conformity exists for the following reasons:

  • To ensure that imported goods comply with health, safety, and quality standards for consumers
  • National Security
  • Environmental protection
  • Protect against deceptive activities
  • Ensure religious and publics morals
  • Reduce anti-competition issues

There are some exemptions to the requirements of the CoC process, however, these all occur outside of any electronics, so there are no exemptions for any IT / Medical goods. 

How to import IT infrastructure into Kenya

Shipping Documents:

As a minimum, the following shipping documents must be sent along with the consignment to ensure a smooth import and customs clearance:

  • Air Waybill (AWB) – this document accompanies goods shipped by an international courier, provides detailed information about the shipment, and allow it to be tracked. 
  • Commercial invoice – a document that is used as a customs declaration.
  • Packing list – the goods described on the packing list must match the details on the air waybill and the commercial invoice.
  • Data Sheet(s)
  • Certificate of Conformity – as described above.

Major airports in Kenya

For air shipments, three major airports exist for imports into Kenya:

  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi - NBO
  • Mombasa Moi International Airport, in Mombasa - NBA
  • Eldoret International Airport, in Eldoret - EDL

Kenyan duties and taxes

Kenyan duties and taxes are made up of a VAT charge, and a number of smaller taxations based on the CIF (Cost/Value, Insurance and Freight):

  • VAT is 16%
  • Import Declaration Fee of 3.5%
  • Railway Development Levy of 2%

As with any international process, you risk time-consuming and costly delays if you are not correctly prepared to import your goods into Kenya. If you need assistance, please contact us about our Importer of Record Services.

Please email iorsolutions@mouseandbear.com, call 01935 848526 or send the enquiry form below.

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