Last week, KEPSA and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) signed a U.S. – Kenya Trade Initiative that aims at upscaling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This agreement came on the premise of a longstanding relationship between KEPSA and CCA focused on increasing Kenya-U.S. trade and investment. The two organizations have over the years collaborated to organize a range of meetings and events pulling in their respective members based on an initial MoU signed in 2012 and renewed in 2020.
The initiative will provide a unique platform to facilitate U.S. and Kenyan SME partnerships, support women and youth to run Kenyan entrepreneurs as well as U.S. women, minority, and diaspora owned businesses, and help SMEs in both countries address the current challenges many face to access the two markets.
The agreement was signed by CCA President & CEO Ms. Florizelle Liser and KEPSA CEO Ms. Carole Kariuki and witnessed by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta who was on a working visit in New York, U.S.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Kenyatta said that the Government-backed pact was part of efforts to support the growth of the Kenyan SME sector as a key enabler of wealth and employment creation. He went on to say that the agreement will create new opportunities for Kenyan SMEs while adding that the sector plays a key role in guaranteeing the country’s economic resilience especially in times of turbulence.
“Typically, the CCA – KEPSA MoU is one such partnership where we are beginning a program that will target scaling up of SMEs, which is our theme and focus when it comes to SME development in Kenya,” Said Ms. Kariuki in her statement. “We plan to do the same with our other partners around the world,” She added.
The U.S.-Kenya SME Trade initiative has three core objectives:
- Support greater U.S.-Kenya trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This support shall continue upon the expiry of AGOA in 2025 in accordance with any new trade Arrangement between the Governments of Kenya and the USA.
- Promote SME-driven Kenya-U.S. trade and investment as envisioned by the U.S. Prosper Africa Build Together campaign and initiative by capitalizing on and creating business relationships between Kenyan and U.S. entrepreneurs.
- Develop a database and online market of trade opportunities that will allow Kenyan and U.S. SMEs to connect with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners.
On her part, Ms. Liser commended President Kenyatta for creating a conducive business environment for local and foreign investments to thrive by championing progressive policies and setting up the enabling infrastructure.
Also present was the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Ms. Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs Amb. Raychelle Omamo, CCA Chairman Mr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio, and KEPSA Advisor and U.S. Representative Mr. Sam Mwale.