Relations between Turkey and Kenya

Bilateral relations between Turkey and Kenya have consistently developed since Kenya gained its independence in 1963 and the Turkish Embassy in Nairobi was opened in 1968. The former President of the Republic of Kenya H.E Mr. Daniel Arap Moi visited Turkey in 1996 to attend the 2nd UN HABITAT Conference, and the former President H.E. Abdullah Gül made his first trip in Sub-Saharan Africa to Kenya on 20-22 February 2009.

This was also the first bilateral Presidential visit between Turkey and Kenya. On the occasion of this visit, Turkish Airlines started to operate commercial flights to Kenya as of 20 February 2009 operating a direct flight between Istanbul and Nairobi. Mombasa was added as a supplemental point.

In 2012, Kenya opened its Embassy in Ankara. In April 2014, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya, visited Turkey. Several Agreements and MoU’s in the fields of security, trade, financial and technical cooperation, energy and mining were signed during the visit.

Bilateral trade volume between the two countries amounted to 169.3 million USD in 2017 (Exports from Turkey: 152.2 million USD, imports to Turkey: 17.1 million USD). In 2018, the overall trade volume between the two countries surpassed 226 million USD.

Turkey’s major exports to Kenya include coal bitumen and petroleum products, transportation machinery, cereal products, textile fibers, fertilizers, machinery, steel, rubber, furniture and plastic products. Turkey’s imports from Kenya include rawhide and related products, tea, coffee, spices, cocoa, textile fibers, fish, raw materials for dye and paints.

In recent years, as relations with Africa became an important policy priority, Turkey started to be recognized as a leading emerging development partner in Kenya. The Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has developed various projects particularly in the fields of health, food, agriculture, livestock and education. Kenyan experts participate in capacity-development programs in the areas of security, agriculture, education and health conducted by various Turkish Ministries and agencies. Various Turkish NGOs also provide health and emergency aid in required areas.

Turkey provides undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate scholarships every year to Kenyan students willing to continue their higher education in Turkey. The number of scholarships offered to Kenyan students in 2018 reached to 41.