Kenya is the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, behind Nigeria & South Africa, and one of the most-productive economies across Africa. Kenya is considered the East African business, finance, & technology hub. Online Forex trading in Kenya is regulated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).
High floating leverage + fast execution
Quality educational tools and in-house research for beginner traders
Industry-leading security via €5,000,000 civil liability insurance
Daily market research and Autochartist access
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
Solid broker for scalping and hedging
Institutional-style trading opportunities for retail traders
- FXTM, Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution.
- HFM, Industry-leading security via €5 million insurance.
- FP Markets, ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500..
- AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
- BlackBull Markets, Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging.
5.0/5 in this category
Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution
FXTM is among the market-leading brokers for frontier and emerging markets, bringing its experience to more challenging trading environments and serving traders with smaller deposits with excellent trading conditions in a safe trading environment. The acceptance of M-Pesa is a bonus for Kenya traders. One of the most significant advantages for online Forex trading in Kenya is the ability to transact in Kenyan Shillings, fully supported by FXTM through local bank wires and M-Pesa. The minimum deposit of $10 ensures availability to Forex trading to all Kenyans. New traders have access to a well-developed educational section, FXTM offers free MT4 add-ons, and maintains a loyalty cash-back program. The asset selection is outstanding for most retail traders, and FXTM uses a hybrid market maker/ECN model, depending on the account type.
Excellent commission-based Forex pricing environment and transparency
Upgraded MT4/MT5 trading platforms plus proprietary mobile trading app
Quality market research and educational content for beginner traders
Proprietary copy trading platform, low minimum deposit, and high leverage
5.0/5 in this category
Industry-leading security via €5 million insurance
HFM remains a leading choice for Forex trading in Kenya as it has a local subsidiary regulated by the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority, alongside subsidiaries with licenses in South Africa and Seychelles, making Africa a core market for HFM. The €5,000,000 civil liability insurance ensures an industry-leading security measure, while HFM provides high leverage plus negative balance protection for all traders and segregates client deposits from corporate funds.
Kenyan Forex traders will benefit from quality education and in-house research. Cutting-edge trading tools, including the Autochartist and upgrades for MT4/MT5 via 12 plugins, complement low trading costs in its commission based Zero Spread account. Mobile traders can opt for the proprietary mobile app HF App, while PAMM accounts are also available.
leverage, bonuses, and loyalty program ideal for active traders
educational tools and in-house research for beginner traders
competitive pricing environment in its commission-based account
MT4/MT5 trading platforms and cutting-edge trading tools
4.5/5 in this category
ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500.
fpmarkets is an ASIC-regulated Australian brokerage which launched in 2005. For most traders, the unique selling point of this broker is in the extremely wide range of tradable assets offered, providing the opportunity to trade over ten thousand individual stocks and shares including publicly quoted Hong Kong and Australian companies. Ffpmarkets also offers 60 Forex pairs and crosses, 11 equity indices, the major commodities, and 5 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. fpmarkets offers an unusual hybrid ECN/STP execution model, meaning their clients can choose between ECN style of execution giving a very high level of speed, and a “straight through processing” execution style which allows for more “natural” spreads.
FP Markets Pros & Cons
Choice of trading platforms and auxiliary trading tools
Very competitive cost structure and excellent asset selection
Low minimum deposit requirement and leverage of up to 1:500
Well-regulated and trustworthy
4.5/5 in this category
Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads
Kenyan Forex traders seeking to manage their portfolios with one of the first brokers to expand into the online broker industry will find AvaTrade a suitable choice. Seven regulators ensure a safe trading environment. Another benefit could the mobile trading app AvaTradeGo, developed for traders who prefer using their mobile phones for trading, a dominant trend across emerging and frontier markets, where users invest more heavily in mobile phones than laptops or desktops. With over 1,000 assets from four trading platforms, AvaTrade offers trading and diversification opportunities for advanced traders with more massive portfolios. New retail traders will benefit from in-depth educational tools, but the minimum deposit of $100 may be out-of-range for many interested in Forex Kenya opportunities. AvaTrade has no restrictions on short-selling and scalping, supporting a wide range of trading strategies with an acceptable cost structure.
High-quality educational offering via SharpTrader
Excellent choice of trading platforms catering to various trading needs
Broad asset selection and cross-asset diversification opportunities
Well-regulated and trusted broker with oversight from a central bank
4.5/5 in this category
Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging
BlackBull Markets was founded in 2014 in New Zealand. Like many antipodean Forex brokers, BlackBull Markets is an ECN broker, offering raw spreads and commissions. They are regulated in New Zealand by the Financial Services Providers Register (FSPR) and offer a maximum leverage on some Forex currency pairs as high as 500 to 1. In addition to their global headquarters in New Zealand, BlackBull Markets also has presences in the form of branch offices in New York and Malaysia. BlackBull Markets offers a relatively tight range of tradable assets: 27 Forex currency pairs and crosses, gold, silver, crude oil, natural gas, and 6 major equity indices. That should be sufficient for those traders with more focused strategies not requiring wide diversification.
BlackBull Markets Pros & Cons
ECN/NDD execution model with deep liquidity
Institution-grade pricing for retail traders via proprietary price aggregation
ZuluTrade and Myfxbook for social trading
Leverage of up to 1:500
The young and tech-savvy population is eager to drive its economy forward, many international companies locate regional headquarters to Kenya, and Forex trading in Kenya is swiftly increasing in popularity, amid low capital requirements. The payment processor M-Pesa, launched in 2007 by UK-based Vodafone and Kenyan Safaricom, is a mobile phone-based money transfer, payments, and micro-financing service, targeting the unbanked, further enables access to the financial system. It became the most successful mobile-phone-based financial service in the developing world by 2010.
Forex trading is growing in popularity across Kenya, especially trading on mobile phones. The trend accelerated since the successful launch of M-Pesa, which connected millions of unbanked in Kenya to the formal financial system. There are not many licensed Forex brokers in Kenya, with EGM Securities, the first non-dealing online Forex broker operating out of Nairobi, and SCFM Limited, the second one. While financial pyramid schemes and other scams exist, as with most frontier markets, the Central Bank of Kenya, and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) are equipped to ensure a trustworthy environment. It positions Kenya as an excellent growth market.
Yes, Forex is legal in Kenya. There are no restrictions on Kenyan traders to open accounts with international brokers, which do not require a CMA license to operate in the country.
The Forex market in Kenya is primarily regulated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), while the Central Bank of Kenya may introduce regulation for the CMA to enforce. The CMA drafted new rules to tighten regulation, including requiring all international brokers to apply for a license, confirm minimum capital requirements, and file quarterly and annual reports with the regulator. It is a further sign of the growth of Forex trading across Kenya.
The CMA has regulated Forex brokers in Kenya since 1989. It grants three licenses, Dealing Foreign Exchange Broker, Non-Dealing Foreign Exchange Broker, and Money Manager. In 2019, the CMA received the Most Innovative Capital Markets Regulator in Africa award. To date, only two Kenyan brokers hold a CMA license.
Traders can check the broker's Company Registered Number against the CMA database to confirm of a CMA license was granted.
You need to determine what type of Forex trader you are or want to be, and then find the broker offering the right services to you. New retail traders should seek the best educational courses, low-frequency traders commission-free accounts, and high-frequency traders require tight spreads. There are initiatives focused on Forex exchange Kenya to meet the expanding interest in Kenya. Brokers with M-Pesa accounts are preferable, but Skrill and WebMoney are alternative options that connect with M-Pesa. An upgraded MT4 trading platform, superior proprietary alternative, and mobile-focused app are beneficial.
A broker’s cost structure will have a significant impact on your profitability and requires careful consideration.
- Spreads are the difference between the bid and ask prices. They are the most basic cost in Forex trading. Commission-free spreads can be as low as 0.4 pips, while commission-based commence from 0.0 pips. Anything above 1.0 pips, on liquid currency pairs, represents an excessive mark-up.
- Swaps are costs related to leveraged overnight positions, and transparent brokers list their swap rates on their website and the order ticket. MT4/MT5 traders can obtain them directly from the trading platform. They differ across assets and can change frequently.
- Commissions apply to Forex accounts with access to raw spreads, charged per lot, and to equity traders in the percentage of the order value.
- Other fees can consist of deposit/withdrawal fees, currency conversion costs, and inactivity charges.
The MT4 trading platform, once upgraded with add-ons, remains the best trading platform for most traders. It fully supports automated trading and has over 20,000 upgrades to improve the trading environment. Some brokers offer excellent proprietary alternatives, while online Forex trading in Kenya is also heavily conducted on mobile phones, for which traders should consider customized mobile apps.
Trading from the right account type is essential and will have a significant impact on your trading results.
- The Micro Account is best suited for deposits below $500, where 1.0 lot equals 1,000 currency units. It is excellent to learn trading and test strategies in a live account.
- The Mini Account is ideal for portfolios below $10,000, and 1.0 lot is equal to 10,000 currency units. Most retail traders should manage portfolios from this account.
- The Standard Account is for professional traders and retail traders with deposits above $10,000, with 1.0 lots totaling 100,000 currency units. It usually offers the best trading conditions, a fact to consider.
- The Islamic account does not charge swap rates but can demand higher minimum deposits and wider spreads to cover the shortfall. Make sure to read the terms and conditions.
Interesting Forex trading opportunities can appear at any time while the Forex market is open. However, the best time to trade Forex is usually during the most liquid market hours, and the time of highest liquidity in the Forex market for most currency pairs typically occurs during the London / New York overlap. In Kenya, which is usually two hours ahead of London, these hours occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time Monday to Friday. The most liquid days of the week are usually Wednesday and Thursday. The time zone location of the Philippines means that trading Forex in the late afternoon after work can be a great way to get started. If these specific hours are inconvenient, the Forex market is also relatively liquid during the remainder of the New York session, which stretches from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. local time.
Kenyan tax residents are obliged to pay income tax on all their worldwide income and gains to Revenue Kenya, even if derived from trading with an offshore Forex broker. Income tax in Kenya is charged at marginal rates ranging from 10% to 30%, which is relatively low tax in global terms. During the 2021 tax year, 10% marginal rate was charged on annual income up to 288,000 shillings, and the 30% bank was charged on annual income in excess of 388,000 shillings.
The first step is making a real attempt at trading Forex successfully. This will require plenty of hard work - if you aren’t prepared to study, you will not be successful at it. Most new traders find this to be a tough process, both practically and psychologically. If you are patient and can spend time alone on a computer figuring out puzzles, then you probably have the right personality and skills to be a successful Forex trader if you are numerate also.
It is very important to accept that you can lose money trading, especially at the start of your learning process. Most traders lose money, you must be better than the average trader to make money. If you are a compulsive gambler, or if you are unable to cope with streaks of losing trades or to limit your risk, you will not succeed at trading Forex.
When you decide to start your journey as a Forex trader, you will need enough money to get started. Although there are some Forex brokers that have zero minimum deposit, to trade safely and limit your risk appropriately you need to deposit at least $12 if you are trading nano-lots, or $120 if you are trading micro-lots. Typically, the more money you deposit with a broker, the better trading conditions you will receive in return.
The final step in starting Forex trading is opening a demo account with the best broker for you, and then after practicing, opening a real money account. You can then choose the best Forex broker for you by reading the rest of this article and assessing each of the Forex brokers listed here.
Kenya is two hours ahead of London time, and London is the global centre of the Forex market. This means that Kenya is truly very well-positioned to enjoy the most active and liquid Forex trading sessions.
The London session runs from 10am to 7pm Kenya time.
The New York session runs from 3pm to Midnight Kenya time.
The London / New York session overlap, which is usually the most liquid time in the Forex market and the best time to be day trading Forex, runs from 3pm to 7pm Kenya time.
The Tokyo session runs from 1am to 10am Kenya time.
M-Pesa launched in Kenya in 2007 as a joint venture between UK-based Vodafone Group PLC and Kenyan-based Safaricom, the country’s largest mobile network operator. It grew into the most successful mobile money service in Africa and the biggest FinTech platform regionally. It serves over 20 million users in Kenya, allowing swift transactions from mobile devices, access to the financial system for the unbanked, and ensuring vast availability of the Forex market with easy access.
While the availability of M-Pesa is not widespread with many international Forex brokers, a growing number offer it. Skrill, WebMoney, DusuPay, iPay, MTN Mobile Money, Tigo Pesa, and Airtel Money allow money transfers to M-Pesa in Kenya, offering an alternative to consider. Therefore, traders should check if Forex brokers support any of them if they do not list M-Pesa. The very best Forex brokers in Kenya will ensure that M-Pesa is available, as it represents the most convenient option for Kenyans. With more than 918,500 agents across its network and a total of almost 50 million users in seven countries, M-Pesa booked over 15 billion transactions in 2020.
Kenya heavily depends on agriculture, an underdeveloped sector in the country, with many unbanked citizens. M-Pesa grants access to individuals via a non-bank system by using mobile phones. The young and tech-savvy population relies heavily on mobile phones, making Forex brokers with proprietary mobile apps and support for M-Pesa ideal candidates for Kenyan traders. Forex brokers that accept M-Pesa ensure a broader client reach and penetration while adding another service to the expanding Kenyan financial service sector.
Since M-Pesa relies on a stable mobile network, traders in urban areas will have no issues. Rural areas have coverage, where Safaricom remains the network provider with the broadest access. The success of M-Pesa is likely to result in more Forex brokers that accept M-Pesa.
Most Forex brokers explain all products and services on their website, while an FAQ section attempts to answer the most common questions. For other matters, live customer support resolves issues. Most support is in English, but many brokers deploy multi-lingual staff, per their client-base. Most traders will never require additional assistance at well-managed brokers but having swift access to customer service is essential.
We reviewed over 100 brokers based on eleven criteria for more than 200,000 words of dedicated research compiled over 1,000 hours to find the best Forex brokers in Kenya.
Is Forex trading illegal in Kenya?
No, Forex trading is completely legal in Kenya. There have not been any newsworthy reports of brokers operating illegally in Kenya or of non-Kenyan brokers scamming Kenyan traders.
How to start Forex trading in Kenya?
You can start trading Forex in Kenya by finding the broker that suits your trading needs, opening an account, and making a deposit. You should also make sure to educate yourself before managing a live trading account.
How to trade Forex in Kenya?
Review our listing here of the top offshore international Forex brokers for residents of Kenya and decide which broker best suits your needs. Open a demo account and check them out and teach yourself to trade profitably, then switch to a live account once you are consistently profitable.
How much do I need to start Forex trading in Kenya?
If you are opening an account with a Forex broker offering trading in micro-lots you should start with at least $120, while if your broker (like FXTM) offers nano-lots you can start safely with as little as $12.
Is Forex trading profitable in Kenya?
Forex trading can be profitable for traders in Kenya who have patience, discipline, and numeracy, and who are willing to study and practise Forex trading. However, it is true that most people everywhere in the world who try Forex trading lose money.
Which is the best time to trade Forex in Kenya?
The best time to day trade Forex is during the most liquid market hours, which occur during the overlap of the London and New York trading sessions, between 3pm and 7pm Kenyan time.
Who regulates Forex in Kenya?
Forex in Kenya is regulated by the Central Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA regulates all financial markets in Kenya.
How much money do you need to start Forex in Kenya?
To trade safely with limited risk, you need at least $120 to start trading Forex in Kenya, or only $12 if you are using a Forex broker offering nano-lots. There are several international Forex brokers which have no minimum deposit requirement, so it is possible to get started with even less.