Doing business in Kenya: updates regarding COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 has consequences for entrepreneurs doing business in or with Kenya. We provide an overview of useful information intended for everyone involved with agribusiness in Kenya. The agriculture team of the Netherlands embassy can answer further questions via nai-lnv@minbuza.nl.

We aim to continue our regular work as much as possible.

Update 29 July 2020

  • On the 27th of July 2020 President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in his Presidential Address:
    • The Nationwide curfew from 21:00 to 04:00hrs is extended for another 30 days until 26/08/2020.
    • Nationally, 17,603 persons have so far tested positive for the virus. The concern at the moment is the aggressive surge of infections among young Kenyans who are in turn infecting their elders.
    • There will be no sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in eateries and restaurants across the Territory of the Republic of Kenya, effective at midnight today, for the next 30 days. And the closing time for restaurants and eateries has been amended from 8pm to 7pm, starting today at midnight, for the next 30 days.
  • The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority released protocols for air travel operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information see this attachment.
  • NL Business in East Africa (NLbEA) is organizing a series of interactive webinars about “Post Corona Business in Kenya”. The next webinar on Thursday, 30 July at 4pm-5.30pm is about safety in East Africa. Jules Delahaije - CEO & Chairman at SGA Security - will discuss with the topic: Corona: Safety and/or security? If you would like to participate in this exciting webinar kindly fill out this online form before Wednesday 29th July at 1 pm, the form can be found here.
  • The Kenya Ports Authority public notice on the use of inland container depots in Nairobi and Naivasha. Find more details in this attachment.
  • Kenya’s foreign direct investment inflows fell to $294 million (KES31.3 billion) last year. Annual estimates by a UN agency show, partly reflecting depressed growth in new jobs that has been worsened by COVID-19. For more information see the World Investment Report published by UNCTAD.  
  • Kenyan avocado exports hit a record high in the first half of 2020 with more than 58,400 tonnes sold to 42 countries, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Data from the Directorate of Horticulture and the Avocado Society of Kenya shows that sales almost topped the total quantity sold last year. According to Avocado Society of Kenya Chief Executive Ernest Muthomi, the country earned more than Sh8 billion from the exports. The Netherlands, a major fresh produce distribution hub in Europe remained the lead importer of Kenyan avocados with 16.3 million kilogrammes bought by June.
  • Kenya’s earnings from tea in five months to May dropped by Sh1.3 billion worth and 6 million kilos as the sector suffered from effects of the COVID-19 that hit commodity trading in the world market.
  • The Kenya Revenue Authority has paid Sh25 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds to businesses following a presidential order. Read more here.
  • The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development has published Guidelines for Business operations during COVID-19. You can find the guideline here. The Government of Kenya has also published the attached document on government guidelines on COVID-19 measures in offices. This is especially useful for companies seeking audience with the government offices.
  • The following instruments have published a Call for Applications:
    • The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has opened a Fund Against Child Labour for international Dutch companies that want to end child labour in their value chain (deadline for application is 5 November 15:00 CET 2020) – See more here.
    • The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has opened a Fund for Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) for Dutch partnerships (deadline for application is 30 September 2020 12:00 CET) - See more here.
    • A Kickstart voucher is available for internationally active companies in the Netherlands. With this voucher an external advisor can be hired to support your company to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on your company. See more here.
    • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) opened the following call: Rural youth employment opportunities: Support to Integrated Agribusiness Hubs (Deadline to receive proposals is 17 August 2020, 23:59 CEST) – See more here.
    • The Future For Nature Foundation is searching worldwide for young, talented, and ambitious conservationists for the prestigious Future For Nature Awards 2021 (deadline 15th September 2020) – See more here.
Nairobi

COVID-19 in Kenya

The Kenyan Ministry of Health is the main source of information regarding COVID-19 in Kenya. It publishes a daily update on the spread of the virus and communicates the most important information regarding containment of the virus on their COVID-19 page. An 8-point economic plan valued at KES 53.7 billion to stimulate economy after the effect of Covid-19 has been unveiled by the Government of Kenya. See this 1 pager for details.

Further information and useful links

Below we provide an overview of useful websites based on the type of questions we receive. In case you have suggestions for important and useful additions to this list, kindly share them with us by sending us an email, nai-lnv@minbuza.nl.

  • For Dutch entrepreneurs that are doing business in African countries, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency made an overview of useful information in Dutch.
  • A number of frequently asked questions for entrepreneurs are provided by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency here.
  • The European Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes a number of restrictions to transport, which can be found on this website of the European Commission.
  • The Kenya Private Sector Alliance has opened a 24-hour call center and information portal for businesses. You can find more information on their website, including the consolidated private sector protocols on maintaining health and safety after reopening of the economy. For more information see here.

  • This website gives an overview of information provided by the Government of Kenya on COVID-19 related measures, created by the Netherlands Embassy.

  • Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) published an analysis on the impact of the gazette notice to importers/exporters. You can also find an analysis of the changes contained Tax Law Amendments Act (25 April 2020) by PWC here. As well as an analysis on the proposed Finance Bill (5 May 2020) see this website.

  • Following the amendments to the VAT Act, 2013, by the Finance Act, 2019, clarifying that VAT is applicable to supplies made through a digital marketplace, the Kenya Revenue Authority would like to inform members of the public that this draft - value added tax (digital marketplace supply) regulations, 2020 have been developed.

  • The EU delegation in Kenya has published a factsheet on available funding opportunities to leverage investments by the private sector in Kenya. You can find the factsheet here. Find information on additional support by the EU to bolster food security here and on the support measures of for vulnerable Kenyans here.
  • The Kenya Ports Authority extends free storage period for import and export containers. The extension is valid for 90 days from 18 May 2020 and is subject to review thereafter depending on the business dynamics. Find the details here.
  • Kindly find the Kenya Gazette Supplement no. 44 with the Pandemic Response and Management Bill 2020 via this link – The bill is currently going through parliament and has a number of proposals on social economic impact including employment contracts. MMAN advocates published an overview with the highlights of this proposed Bill here.
  • For Dutch entrepreneurs that are doing business in African countries, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency made an overview of useful information in Dutch.
  • A number of frequently asked questions for entrepreneurs are provided by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency here.
  • The European Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes a number of restrictions to transport, which can be found on this website of the European Commission.
  • The Kenya Private Sector Alliance has opened a 24-hour call center and information portal for businesses. You can find more information on their website, including the consolidated private sector protocols on maintaining health and safety after reopening of the economy. For more information see here.

  • This website gives an overview of information provided by the Government of Kenya on COVID-19 related measures, created by the Netherlands Embassy.

  • The Kenya Revenue Authority has published a new list of goods eligible for bonded warehouses at the expiry of 90 days from the date of the Gazette Notice (15 May 2020). Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) published an analysis on the impact of the gazette notice to importers/exporters. You can also find an analysis of the changes contained Tax Law Amendments Act (25 April 2020) by PWC here. As well as an analysis on the proposed Finance Bill (5 May 2020) see this website.

  • Following the amendments to the VAT Act, 2013, by the Finance Act, 2019, clarifying that VAT is applicable to supplies made through a digital marketplace, the Kenya Revenue Authority would like to inform members of the public that this draft - value added tax (digital marketplace supply) regulations, 2020 have been developed.

  • The EU delegation in Kenya has published a factsheet on available funding opportunities to leverage investments by the private sector in Kenya. You can find the factsheet here. Find information on additional support by the EU to bolster food security here and on the support measures of for vulnerable Kenyans here.
  • The Kenya Ports Authority extends free storage period for import and export containers. The extension is valid for 90 days from 18 May 2020 and is subject to review thereafter depending on the business dynamics. Find the details here.
  • Kindly find the Kenya Gazette Supplement no. 44 with the Pandemic Response and Management Bill 2020 via this link – The bill is currently going through parliament and has a number of proposals on social economic impact including employment contracts. MMAN advocates published an overview with the highlights of this proposed Bill here.

Events

Due to the COVID-19, many of the upcoming events have been rescheduled. As soon as new dates have been confirmed we will share them in our agenda.

COVID-19 in the Netherlands

For questions regarding travel restriction for the Netherlands, travelling abroad and visas, have a look at information from the Netherlands government here.
More general information about COVID-19 in the Netherlands can be found here.

Important note

Owing to changing nature of the COVID pandemic, the current situation and government measures in place are continuously evolving. Please continue to update yourself on the must current state of affairs, including by verifying information with the relevant business associations or your local partner.

Together we will get through these tough times. Stay safe

Questions for the agriculture department can be addressed directly to nai-lnv@minbuza.nl. Questions on general trade can be direct to nai-ea@minbuza.nl. For any other questions for the Embassy, this website links to the general contact information of the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi.
For the latest updates follow us on twitter on
@NLAgiKenya and the Netherlands Embassy on @NLinKenya and Facebook.