Kenya’s trade with the six-nation East African Community improved by 57.7 percent in the first quarter compared to a similar period last year despite the long-standing trade tension with some of the member states.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that balance of payments – net exports less net imports – with Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan rose to Sh30.86 billion in the three months to March from Sh19.67 billion in a similar period in 2019.

The volume of trade was recorded at Sh54.94 billion during the period up from Sh46.28 billion last year.

The community represented the leading regional trade with inflows in favour of Kenya, followed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which also recorded a positive balance of trade of Sh25.31 billion.

Other trading regions, including the European Union (EU), which excludes the United Kingdom that exited the bloc in February, recorded balance of payments to Sh14.79 billion in favour of the EU.

Far East Asia and other trading categories recorded balance of trade to Sh196.07 billion and Sh61.02 billion on the negative.

Kenya’s exports to the EAC were worth Sh42.90 billion, representing 19.3 per cent of Sh222.72 billion worth of total Kenya’s exports in the quarter.