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Kenya eyes $20.5b in deals from Ruto’s US State visit

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 10:00 | By
JKIA export. PHOTO/Print

Kenya is setting its sights on securing $20.5 billion (Sh2.7 trillion) in potential deals during President William Ruto’s upcoming US State visit, Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade, and Industry, Rebecca Miano has disclosed.

President Ruto is scheduled to depart for the US on May 23, marking the 60th anniversary of US-Kenya diplomatic relations.  The visit aims to fortify bilateral ties, with discussions encompassing co-operation in trade, investment, innovation, climate action, health, and security.

At a media briefing organised by the ministry and Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), Miano highlighted disclosed that the visit would feature pitches for over 30 Kenyan projects, which are expected to attract substantial foreign investments.

“This visit symbolises a new era of partnership, focusing on trade, green energy, digital technology, health, and security.

The potential deals from this visit are estimated to be worth $20.5 billion,” Miano stated at the event. On the sidelines of the State Visit, Kenya has planned a series of commercial activities. The Kenyan delegation aims to present the country as a source of quality goods and services and an attractive destination for US foreign direct investments.

Priority sectors

During the solo “Make It Kenya” exhibition, Kenya’s opportunities in trade, investment, and tourism will be showcased.

Other events include the Kenya – US High-Level Business Forum, Thematic Days and Forums on the sidelines of the exhibition for priority sectors and value chains, and the Kenya Diaspora Exhibition and Forum.

Miano stated that they would present investment opportunities across sectors in line with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). The goal is to deepen commercial ties and attract green investments to drive sustainable economic growth across the continent.

“We look forward to impactful outcomes of this historic visit and remain committed to advancing mutual interests and prosperity between United States and Kenya,” Miano said.

President Ruto’s visit to the US underscores Kenya’s commitment to advancing trade in line within the General Agreements on Tariff and Trade (GATT) principles. While GATT governs various trade agreements, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) specifically aids Kenya by providing duty-free access to the US market.

The Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP), a separate bilateral initiative, builds on Agoa’s foundation, aiming to enhance economic ties through broader trade and investment co-operation. This visit may prompt further solid trade agreements under the auspices of both Agoa and STIP. President Ruto’s delegation is likely to discuss the U.S.-Kenya STIP, focusing on non-tariff trade issues. Key areas include improving agricultural trade, strengthening anti-corruption measures, setting digital trade standards, addressing environmental practices related to trade, protecting workers’ rights, and facilitating trade by reducing costs and improving efficiency. These discussions aim to establish high-standard commitments between the two nations.

In 2022, Kenya’s exports to the US increased by 25 per cent, reaching $679 million (Sh88.1 billion) against $543 million (Sh70.5 billion) in 2021, solidifying its status as Africa’s second-largest bilateral trading partner with the US.

The main exports to the US in 2022 were textile and apparels (men’s or boys’ suits (16.1 per cent and women’s or girls’ suits (8 per cent), titanium ores (13.2 per cent), coffee (9.6 per cent), and other nuts (8 per cent).

Historic visit

“We look forward to impactful outcomes of this historic visit and remain committed to advancing mutual interests and prosperity between the United States and Kenya,” said Miano during the briefing. Also present were the business community from different sectors that will be displaying their products during the exhibition. 

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