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Kenya: Government set to hold SME forum on AGOA

Kenya: Government set to hold SME forum on AGOA
Kenya's Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed
Published date:
Saturday, 07 November 2015
Margaret Kalekye

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development will host Kenya’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprise players to build their capacity to leverage on African Growth and Opportunity Act(AGOA) renewal through exports to US markets.

The forum to be held on Monday  is an opportunity for the Ministry to educate micro, small and medium-sized businesses on the detailed regulations and benefits provided by the AGOA renewal Act of 2015 and how to leverage on the opportunity to build their capacity for exporting products to the USA under the AGOA framework.

The recent AGOA Extension and Enhancement act of 2015, gives Kenya the opportunity to increase its volume of trade with USA. MSME’s through this renewal act have the opportunity to capitalize on the trade in several value chains and take advantage on the opportunities that allow trade of more than 6300 products duty-free from Kenya to the USA under the act.

The forum will educate MSME’s on various sectors including construction, agro-processing exports, home décor, handloom, textiles and apparels and in particular, leather and fisheries are a few ripe sectors they could capitalize on.

According to Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Adan Mohamed, MSME’s businesses hold the key to increased export opportunities in the USA.

“It’s time for MSMe’s to leverage on this great opportunity we have as a nation with the AGOA Trade Act renewal. This forum is a crucial step in the process of expanding our export capacity to the USA, ”said Mohamed.

In 2013 Kenya exported Kshs. 4.47billion (USD 447M) worth of textiles& apparel, Kshs. 100M (USD 1M) worth of leather, and Kshs. 8.9billion (USD 89M) worth of vegetable & food products to the US market.

“While this is encouraging, it still leaves room for improvement. Kenya plans on increasing the annual exports margins from about USD 500M to USD 1Billion by the time the extension is ending. The invaluable information that will be shared at the forum will give Kenyan MSME’s a platform to actively engage this untapped market,” added Mohamed.

The Government recently launched the Cold Chain Initiative assessment program in partnership with the U.S government, key in upgrading Kenya’s cold chain infrastructure. The initiatives will fast track Kenya’s desire to expand its export portfolio in the US while ensuring compliance with U.S standards and regulatory requirements in perishable products exports.

Further, ongoing negotiations between the two governments for US-Kenya direct flights are expected to open up market opportunities for small businesses. The country is targeting Kshs.100billion in export earnings from the AGOA market in the next two years translating into job creation for Kenyans.

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