Logistic and forwarding services in Kenya


Capital City

45.5 Mio.

National languages
English, Kisuaheli

Kenia-Schilling (KES)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 65.9 Mia.

GNP per person
USD 1495

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 83.51 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 39.60 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kenya

Switzerland has been present in Kenya since independence. Initially, it was primarily active in development co-operation, currently the focus is on governance and human rights. In addition, the SDC has a regional office in Nairobi from where it co-ordinates humanitarian aid for the region.

Economic cooperation

Although Kenya’s economy is diversified, about 75% of the population works in agriculture. Flowers, tea and coffee are its main export goods.

In 2013, Kenya was Switzerland’s fifth-largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa; the volume of bilateral trade in 2013 amounted to CHF 108 million. Switzerland imported almost exclusively agricultural products, while it exported primarily pharmaceuticals and chemical products.


Business language

Swahili, English (correspondence language).

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency Kenyan Shilling (KSh.) = 100 cents (c).
ISO code: KES

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

Import is broadly liberalised. There is a ban on the import of milk, milk powder, live cattle, bovine semen and embryos, slaughtered cows, beef, bovine bone meal and bovine products.
An application for an import licence must be submitted for the remaining goods which are subject to a licence. The body responsible for this is the Import Licensing Division in the Ministry of Commerce.
Two percent of the invoice amount is levied on application for import licences. They are valid for 3 or 6 months.
All goods which are not on the list can be imported without any restrictions. An Import Declaration Form must be filled in. This is solely for statistical purposes. Certain goods (agricultural vehicles and parts and computers and accessories) are exempted from VAT and import taxes.
Standard VAT rate: 16%.
Revenue stamps apply to wine and spirits, selling these goods without a revenue stamp is no longer permissible.
The original authorisation from the country of export/origin in English must be included when importing used vehicles.
Payment for the import licence is via commercial banks in the case of goods which are subject to authorisation. Otherwise foreign currency controls have been lifted. The Kenyan embassy offers to set up an account in the embassy for the processing of bank transactions.

Pre-shipment inspection

Required for all goods intended for Kenya from a goods value of more than USD 5.000. Intertek Testing Services is responsible for this. The inspection fees also have to be paid and the state retains the entire licence fee of 2,75% of the value of the goods. Once the order has been placed, the importer must submit the Import Declaration Form and a pro forma invoice to the Kenyan office of the inspection company. Since 18/01/2012 the PVoC (Pre-Export Verification of Conformity) has also been able to be issued by Bureau Veritas (goods inspection costs between 0,25 and 0,475% of the fob value, at least 135 USD, max. 2,375 USD).

Terms of payment and tenders

Payment in advance, irrevocable, confirmed letter of credit highly recommended. Documents against payment is permitted and standard in transactions between good business partners. Other forms are possible but there is a risk that these will not be honoured; invoices in EUR, GBP, USD or any other convertible, agreed currency.
Prices in EUR, KSh, USD or any other agreed currency; CFR basis to the port of Mombasa or CFR basis to Nairobi (in the case of air freight). The delivery must be insured by a transport insurance company authorised in Kenya.
Correspondence and tenders in English.

Designations of origin

Not required on goods. With a few exceptions, however, tyres and tubes must be labelled with the country of origin.
The import of goods, the marking or other labelling on which could give a misleading impression of the origin is prohibited unless they are also labelled with the country of origin (e.g. Made in …).


There are no marking regulations for packaging.
The expiry date must be indicated on the packaging for certain foods, including a reference to the proper storage.


Robust packaging, use of the IPPC standard ISPM no. 15.

Product samples

Duty free where there is no retail value.

Shipping and accompanying documents

Standard and for:

a) Send commercial invoices, 3 copies, in English, signed, no certification, standard information including the sale value, gross and net weight, precise description of the goods, country of origin, discounts etc. directly to the recipient. Enclose 1 invoice in the package. Note on the address page: “Invoice enclosed”.

b) Ship: uncertified bills of lading, order bills of lading are possible with an indication of a notify address.

c) Certificates of origin on request, generally not required.

d) Movement certificate not required.

e) Postal packages up to 20 kg, 1 international dispatch note, 1 customs declaration (English/French).