President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday witnessed the signing of a detailed private sector agreement which seeks to expand trade and investments between Kenya and the United States of America.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York, on the first day of his two-day state visit to the US, the President said the Government-backed pact was part of efforts to support the growth of the Kenyan Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector as a key enabler of wealth and employment creation.
“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,” said President Kenyatta.
The agreement, signed between Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), provides a framework for Kenyan and American businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to partner through information sharing, training, logistics, and financing.
The agreement is also expected to create new opportunities for Kenyan SMEs with the President saying the sector plays a key role in guaranteeing the country’s economic resilience especially in times of turbulence.
He assured of his administration’s support in the implementation of the trade pact saying its success is the success of Kenyans, the Government and the country at large.
this even as he challenged the American Government to be a reliable and predictable trading partner for the initiative to succeed.
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“We also change Government, laws and democracies, but we stand by our word. If one Government has committed, another Government completes, I believe you too need to do the same.”
On the other hand, KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki said her organization’s singular focus was to ensure Kenyan SMEs tap into and benefit from the expansive and lucrative American market by leveraging on the networks and expertise provided by its trade and investment pact with the Corporate Council on Africa.
“Our focus right now is to scale up the SMEs so that we really can move into development. 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,” Ms Kariuki said.
President Kenyatta was accompanied to the meeting by the Leader of Majority in Kenya’s National Assembly Amos Kimunya, by Cabinet Secretaries Betty Maina (Industrialization) and Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs).