President Kenyatta on Monday witnessed the signing of a detailed private sector agreement aimed at expanding trade and investments between Kenya and the US.
The agreement was signed between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)—the largest umbrella body of American companies operating in Africa.
The pact provides a framework for Kenyan and American businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to partner through information sharing, training, logistics, and financing.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York, Kenyatta said the government-backed agreement was part of efforts to support the growth of Kenyan SME sector as a key enabler of wealth and employment creation.
Kenyatta, who is on a two-day official visit to the US, said the pact will create new opportunities for Kenyan SMEs, saying the sector plays a key role of guaranteeing the country’s economic resilience especially in times of turbulence.
He thanked CCA for its commitment to the strengthening of African-American economic ties, adding that the body has played a key role in improving trade and investment relations between the US and Kenya.
Kenyatta challenged the US government to be a reliable and predictable trading partner for the initiative to succeed.
“Reliability and predictability in a partner is something that is critical. To our American friends, I would like to say that you know you cannot start and stop a discussion with partners on the basis of one administration after another. Relationships are between countries and people not between administrations,” he remarked.
KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki said her organization’s main focus was to ensure Kenyan SMEs tap into and benefit from the expansive American market by leveraging on the networks and expertise provided by its trade and investment pact with CCA.
“We want to connect them with the stores in the US and help them access the market. Many of the SMEs do not know how to access AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act)-the training, the logistics, the financing and that is what we want to do,” Kariuki said.
On her part, the CEO of CCA Florie Liser commended President Kenyatta and the Kenyan government for creating a conducive business environment for local and foreign investments to thrive.