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
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
Perfect choice for automated trading
Maximum leverage of 1:500
Top-rated Canadian broker
7% annualized interest on free margin
Best ECN execution on the MT4 platform
Excellent implementation of cTrader and Smart Trader Tools
- FXTM, Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution.
- AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
- Squared Financial, No minimum deposit for the commission-free trading account.
- IFC Markets, 600+ Instruments, 0% deposits, free Autochartist signals
- Pepperstone, Great ECN execution on MT4 platform.
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
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
No minimum deposit for the commission-free trading account
Squared Financial forms part of the larger Squared Financial Group which was founded in 2005. This forex broker has obtained official licensing from CySEC under which European clients can trade. Clients based in the Seychelles can trade on Squared Financial as the company is regulated by the FSA as well. When it comes to commissions, Squared Financial boasts with one of the best-priced alternatives. With over 130 different options in assets, 50 currencies, 5 cryptos, and 5 commodities there are many options for traders to investigate when considering trading with Squared Financial.
Quality education program SquaredAcademy
No minimum deposit for the commission-free trading account
Dynamic leverage and volume-based rebate program
Broad-based asset selection
4.5/5 in this category
600+ Instruments, 0% deposits, free Autochartist signals
IFC Markets is another excellent choice for Forex trading in Kenya, as it allows transactions in the Kenyan Shilling. While it presently does not support M-Pesa, Kenyan traders may use WebMoney to deposit in Kenyan Shilling, convert them into US Dollars, Euros, or Japanese Yen, and deposit them into their trading account. The reverse process applies to withdrawals, and WebMoney has a user-friendly mobile version labeled Keeper Mobile, available for all operating systems. The trading environment grants all traders an excellent selection of assets, the choice of three trading platforms, and the option to create unlimited trading opportunities via synthetic assets hosted on the proprietary NetTraderX platform. With a minimum deposit of just $1, IFC Markets is accessible to all Kenyan traders without draining budgets, allowing for the implementation of portfolio building strategies through small monthly deposits
Excellent regulatory track record and secure trading environment
Outstanding asset selection and patented PQM asset generation technology
Extremely competitive commission-free trading cost structure
Valuable research and educational section, low minimum deposit, and high leverage
4.5/5 in this category
Great ECN execution on MT4 platform
While the Pepperstone group headquarters is in Australia, international clients will trade from the Bahamas subsidiary under the oversight of the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB). This broker is one of the largest MT4 brokers operational today and represents an excellent choice for high-frequency traders through its ECN execution model. There is no minimum deposit, but Pepperstone recommends $500, making it better suited for more advanced Kenyan traders seeking access to raw spreads for a commission cost. Active traders can qualify for a rebate program, reducing the cost structure further. VPS hosting supports automated trading solutions, and three choices enable social trading. The Smart Traders Tools upgrade, consisting of 27 custom add-ons and indicators, enhance the MT4/MT5 trading platforms. Autochartist is also available together with API solutions for more custom solutions. Kenyan Forex traders will find the best trading platform at Pepperstone, granting a significant advantage.
Excellent choice of trading platforms consisting of MT4/MT5, and cTrader
Market-leading MT4/MT5 upgrade package, Autochartist, and API trading
Social trading support via Myfxbook, MetaTrader Signals, and DupliTrade
Leverage of up to 1:30 and superb trade execution
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.
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.