France and Kenya

Political relations

  • Heads of State meetings: EU-Africa Summit in April 2014.
  • Visits to Kenya: Minister of Foreign Trade (2012); Minister of State for Development and Francophonie (April 2015); Minister of State for Foreign Trade (June 2015).
  • About 20 Kenyan Ministers visited France between 2003 and 2011, including: Minister of Justice (2012); Minister of Tourism (2012); Minister of Defence for the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa (December 2013); Minister of Foreign Affairs (November 2014).

Economic relations

In 2014, Kenya was France’s largest customer within the East African Community. French exports to Kenya reached €148 million in 2014 while our imports from Kenya totalled €74 million. France thus had a trade balance surplus of €74 million in 2014.

The main exports to Kenya are: pharmaceuticals; chemical products and cosmetics; mechanical equipment and food products. The main imports from Kenya are agricultural products and products from the food industry (95% of our purchases).

Most French foreign direct investment to East Africa goes to Kenya. FDI stock held by French companies amounted to €189.4 million at the end of 2013. FDI is growing via French buyouts of companies in Kenya (e.g. Total acquired the oil distribution network of American company Chevron) and major French companies setting up in Kenya (Lafarge, Total, Bolloré Africa).

About 60 French companies with a wide range of profiles are present in Kenya. They include both large-scale multinationals which have set up their own structures (e.g. Total distribution) or bought out their local partners (e.g. Servair), and SMEs from very diverse backgrounds (Siraga - gas bottling, and Laprovet - veterinary products). The sectors involved are: horticulture (Bigot-Fleurs, Redlands Roses, Meilland), transport and logistics (AGS, Air France KLM, Air France Cargo, SDV Transami), retailing (Sanofi Aventis), equipment and telecommunications (Alcaltel-Lucent, Camusat, Sagem Communication, Thalès), etc.

Their numbers are steadily increasing: L’Oréal, Pernod-Ricard and Alstom have all recently set up in Kenya. Kenya has become a regional rail, air, port and financial hub for East Africa and the location of many companies’ regional offices (Danone, Alcatel, Alstom Grid, Sanofi, Veritas, Ceva Santé animale, Thalès, Michelin, Sagem, Egis groupe).


In 2013 France was the third-largest bilateral donor after the United States and the United Kingdom. France’s share in the total ODA received by Kenya has increased significantly in recent years, in particular due to the major increase in the activities of the French Development Agency (AFD) since 2008. Total AFD commitments amounted to over €1.2 billion by the end of 2014.

AFD actions are part of the priorities set by the Kenyan government’s "Vision 2030" poverty reduction strategy. France’s priority action areas are: i) improving basic infrastructure (mainly electricity and roads); ii) water and sanitation; iii) environment and protected natural areas.

In total, AFD projects have helped around 2.5 million people enjoy improved water services in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, 400,000 people to be connected to the electricity grid in rural areas and 1 million people to benefit from improved electricity services. They have helped to repair 1,500 km of rural roads, used by over 1.5 million people. These projects have affected 80,000 customers of micro-finance institutions and 300,000 people living on the 4,000 km² of protected areas used for environmental preservation and restoration projects. Finally, 45 companies have benefited either directly or indirectly from the work of Proparco.

Cooperation and cultural action carried out by the French Embassy in Nairobi concentrates on four sectors

  • Cultural and audiovisual cooperation.
  • Teaching through French and French-language learning.
  • Scientific and academic cooperation.
  • Support for Kenya’s development policies including a Social Fund for Development (SFD).

Update: 15.07.15