- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya private sector alliance recruits first beneficiaries of Kenya-US trade initiative

Kenya private sector alliance recruits first beneficiaries of Kenya-US trade initiative

Kenya private sector alliance recruits first beneficiaries of Kenya-US trade initiative
Published date:
Wednesday, 16 March 2022

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), has announced the recruitment of the first cohort of twenty-five businesses in the Kenya-US Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Initiative.

The twenty-five local SMEs, looking to either scale up globally or grow exports to the US market, will be provided with sector-specific information on business opportunities in the US markets.

This is in addition to imports and exports business exchanges among other initiatives aimed at improving market access and linkages between SMEs in the two countries.

Speaking during the virtual launch Florie Liser, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), introduced CCA as the leading US business association focused solely on promoting and facilitating US-Africa trade, investment, and commercial engagement.

“Our member companies are multinationals and SMEs active in Africa’s key growth sectors, including agribusiness, health, energy, ICT, trade, and finance. We serve as an intermediary between our member firms and essential U.S. and African government and private sector leaders to facilitate successful business initiatives in Africa,” she said.

Signed in New York on November 2021 by Carole Kariuki, CEO, KEPSA, and Florie Liser, President and CEO, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenya-US SME Trade Initiative aims to support greater US-Kenya trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Second is the promotion of US-Kenya SME-driven trade and investment by capitalizing on and creating business relationships between Kenyan and US entrepreneurs as envisioned by the U.S. Prosper Africa Build Together campaign and initiative. Lastly, the initiative aims to develop a database and online market of trade opportunities that will allow Kenyan and US SMEs to connect with potential buyers, suppliers, financiers, investors, and other business partners.

Carole Kariuki, CEO, KEPSA said that the US-Kenya SME Trade Initiative provides a unique platform to facilitate US and Kenya SME partnerships, support women and youth-run Kenyan entrepreneurs as well as US women, minority, and diaspora owned businesses, and to help SMEs in both countries address the current challenges in accessing the two markets.

She added that among other things, KEPSA was pushing for establishment of the credit guarantee scheme to ease credit access for SMEs and the enactment of the movable property securities Act 2017 which enables SMEs to sue movable assets as collateral in their businesses.

Also present at the event was Jas Bedi, Chairman, Kenya Export Promotion & Branding Agency (KEPROBA), and Vice-Chair KEPSA. Others were Sam Mwale, KEPSA Advisor, and US Representative and Miguel Estien, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and SMEs among other attendees from Kenya and the US.

Bedi noted the role of SME linkages to enhance value addition and expand value chains around local manufacturing and finishing of products for export.

“We have been taught that global supply chains can be disrupted very quickly, and we need to create a local area network or an alternative supplier basis that can be relied on. The role of SME industrial linkages in this case is to have products which are locally manufactured get access to international markets,” he said.

Miguel Estien, National Director, MBDA, highlighted four MBDA Expert Centre Programs whose key mandate is spotting and identifying minority businesses in the US, and supporting them for growth by connecting them to larger markets. MBDA also provides technical assistance to these businesses and connects them to Governments in the US and beyond.

The overarching goal of the US-Kenya SME Trade Initiative is to provide a unique platform to facilitate American and Kenyan SME business linkage and partnerships. The program will provide support US and Kenyan minority, women, youth, and diaspora owned businesses to access the Kenyan and the US markets. 

Read related news articles

Kenya-US trade talks inching closer to completion – Cabinet Sec Miano

Kenya and the US are inching closer to reaching a trade deal, Investments, Trade and Industry CS Rebecca Miano has hinted, meaning a pact could be in place by end of this year. This, even as the US expresses confidence that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), set to expire next year, will be renewed to allow Sub-Sharan nations continue to enjoy preferential export terms to the US market. The in-person talks between Kenya and US...

25 April 2024

USTR releases summaries from US – Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations

Consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to the highest levels of transparency in trade agreement negotiations, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released summaries of texts proposed by the U.S. side on good regulatory practices, workers’ rights and protections, and a second tranche of agriculture text. Negotiations on these texts are ongoing. USTR will negotiate the workers’...

08 April 2024

Kenya: 4th AmCham business summit to advocate for enhanced partnership and investment In US-East Africa trade

The fourth edition of the regional American Chamber of Commerce Kenya (AmCham) Business Summit, the premier platform for strengthening bilateral trade and investment between the United States, Kenya, and East Africa is set to be held on April 24–25, 2024, in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya’s President William Ruto is confirmed as Chief Guest, leading a government delegation to the summit that aims to expand commercial opportunities and markets....

19 March 2024

US-Kenya: Ruto’s US state visit needs to navigate America’s uncertain political future

President William Ruto will visit the United States on a State Visit in May during what is likely to be one of the most turbulent US elections in memory. Barring some miracle, or catastrophe, the US presidential election will be a showdown between the same two contenders—albeit older and less energetic—as in 2020. The US presidential election in November is the most significant geopolitical risk event of 2024. Its outcome could result in...

26 February 2024

US President Biden to welcome Kenyan President Ruto to the White House in May

President Joe Biden plans to welcome Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House in May, hosting a state visit after reneging on his promise to visit Africa last year. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that the visit set for May 23 will mark the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Kenya diplomatic relations and "celebrate a partnership that is delivering for the people" of both countries while affirming "our strategic...

18 February 2024

US keen to strengthen Kenya’s public procurement system as trade talks resume [incl. Readout]

The US plans to strengthen Kenya’s public procurement systems in what is seen as a strategy to put in place sound structures ahead of the planned trade pact. This comes as talks on the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) resumed last week with a meeting in Nairobi. Kenya is pushing for the deal and renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which expires next year. Washington in a statement on Tuesday said the...

07 February 2024

'Nigeria missing as Kenya, Ghana tap AGOA opportunities to boost foreign exchange earnings'

Africa’s biggest economy is still failing to tap the opportunities that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) present to boost its foreign exchange, amid acute dollar shortages. The AGOA has been on for over twenty-three years as it was enacted in 2020. In 2015, the program was modernised and extended to 2025, implying that there are only about 15 months before the window closes. Some countries have taken advantage of the AGOA more...

05 February 2024

US officials to fast-track talks on Kenya-US Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP)

US authorities will expedite negotiations on the Kenya-US Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) and consider extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond its expiry next year. Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Musalia Mudavadi who spoke after a meeting with US Secretary for State Mr Tony Blinken said these initiatives will facilitate expanded duty and quota-free access...

02 February 2024

Kenya, US trade talks resume in Nairobi, go for common ground

The third round of the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) negotiations between Kenya and the United States opened in Nairobi yesterday. Investment, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano said Kenya’s delegation is being led by Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo.  The main agenda items for the meeting which wraps up tomorrow revolve around agriculture, good regulatory practices, and workers’ rights...

30 January 2024

Kenya, US talks shift to agriculture

Kenya and the United States are set to begin talks on contentious clauses in a proposed bilateral trade deal amid fears the agreement could flood the market with cheap agricultural imports from America. The delayed third in-person round of talks will focus on agriculture, good regulatory practices and workers’ rights and protections, according to a statement from the US Trade Representative Office (USTR). The three-day negotiations...

27 January 2024

Kenya-US far from trade deal as year ends

Kenya’s hopes of concluding a trade deal with the US by end of this year seem unlikely pushing the long draw talks into next year. The Kenyan government had in March this year expressed optimism of sealing a deal before the year ends, in its quest to secure preferential trade terms way before the expiry of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), in September 2025.  Kenya and the US have held three rounds of in-person negotiations...

21 December 2023

You are here: Home/News/Article/Kenya private sector alliance recruits first beneficiaries of Kenya-US trade initiative