Kenya develops new AGOA strategy
Kenya will have an advantage of increasing its exports to the United States when direct flights between the two countries begin in October this year.
Principal Secretary State Department of Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo said that Kenya, which is leading in Sub-Sahara exports, considers the US as a strategic market that it is ranked number three in terms of an export destination for Kenyan goods.
He was addressing delegates in export business who converged in Nairobi on Thursday to develop a second strategy to support the ability of Kenyan firms to successfully sell into the U.S market, leveraging every opportunity that African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides through an exchange programme.
The PS noted that the US International Trade Commission estimates the value of Kenyan exports to the US to have grown from Sh11 billion in the year 2000 to an excess of Sh55 billion in 2016, adding that “The exports have led to the creation of over 200,000 jobs in Kenya.”
He stated that the exports comprise mainly of textiles and apparels made under the well-known export processing zones.
“At this rate, it is possible for the US to move to the second position as an export destination for Kenyan goods. Starting from the beginning of October the direct flights from Kenya to the US will be of an advantage to the market,” the PS added.
He said that some of the challenges in the first AGOA strategy that the second seeks to change include lack of resources in undertaking country wide AGOA awareness programs.
Kiptoo also said that most parts of the country did not involve themselves in AGOA activities and institutions would change officers attending the meetings, thus adversely affecting continuity of services.
Kenyan based local and foreign business people and representatives from counties participated in the forum.
According to USAID Kenya/ East Africa Acting Mission Director Dr. Tina Dooley-Jones, AGOA, which provides a duty-free market to the U.S is not only a window but a huge door through which Kenyan private sector and companies can use.
“This is a huge trade benefit to both Kenya and the U.S.,” she said.
AGOA which has yet to complete its new strategy by end of January is a nonreciprocal trade preference program that provides imports to the U.S of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.