Good week for Kenyan SMEs with American deals signing

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  • KEPSA has signed a new MoU with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
  • The initiative will provide a unique platform to facilitate U.S. and Kenyan SME partnerships
  • Its key goals include promoting SME-driven Kenya-U.S. trade and investment as envisioned by the U.S. Prosper Africa Build Together campaign

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya and the United States stand to benefit, following the signing of a new trade initiative, between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

In a statement, the Alliance said the agreement comes 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 organization said.

At the same time, KEPSA said the initiative will provide a unique platform to facilitate U.S. and Kenyan SME partnerships.

It will also help in supporting 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 faces to access the two markets.

The agreement was signed by CCA President & CEO Florizelle Liser and KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki and witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in New York, U.S.A.

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 Kariuki.

“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, among them, support greater U.S.-Kenya trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

President Uhuru Kenyatta witnesses the signing of the agreement by Kepsa CEO Carole Kariuki and CCA President Florizelle Liser. The deal will see Kepsa market SME businesses in the US. [Photo/PSCU]
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.

Its key goals include promoting 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.

It also includes developing a database and online market of trade opportunities that will allow Kenyan and U.S. SMEs to connect with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners.

Read: Kenya And The U.S. Workout A Free Trade Agreement

Liser commended Kenyatta for creating a conducive business environment for local and foreign investments to thrive by championing progressive policies and setting up the enabling infrastructure.

On a separate account, the Alliance has signed a Memorandum of understanding with the National Business League, Inc. (NBL).

The MoU will provide a unique platform to facilitate both NBL and KEPSA members to collaborate and explore business opportunities jointly.

Some of the MoU’s core objectives include jointly promoting, developing, and strengthening trade and other types of business relationships between KEPSA’s members and NBL’s members.

It also includes the promotion of the ongoing US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement negotiations towards a successful conclusion.

KEPSA said the initiative will provide a unique platform to facilitate U.S. and Kenyan SME partnerships /FILE

The MoU will also seek to promote a better knowledge, understanding, confidence and trust between minority businesses in the US and their Kenyan counterparties.

At the same time, the MoU will ointly provide business forums and platforms to introduce Kenyan and American businesses to know and understand one another, develop trust and confidence in potential partners, make pitches, exhibit their wares, seek deals, among other activities.

“It also advocates for greater access to business opportunities and contracts for minority businesses and Kenyan business in public and private procurement in the US and Kenya,” the Alliance said, adding that it will advocate for better policies and regulations in the respective countries and with their respective authorities.

Read: South Africa and Kenya sign MoU on Investment Cooperation

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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