•Uhuru said the Government backed pact is part of efforts to support the growth of Kenyan SME sector as a key enabler of wealth and employment creation.
•He also called on the American Government to be a reliable and predictable trading partner for the initiative to succeed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday witnessed the signing of a detailed private sector agreement between Kenya and the United States of America that seeks to expand trade and investments.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York, Uhuru said the pact is part of the efforts to support the growth of Kenyan SME sector as a key enabler of wealth and employment creation.
He said the Kenyan and US economies are largely driven by SMEs and the agreement will help accelerate Kenya's economic recovery efforts from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have always had the opportunity to say that Kenya is a country where people always wonder where the resilience of our economy comes from. A country where despite a myriad of shocks, occasioned over the years, always prove to be very resilient,” he said.
“That resilience comes from our small and medium enterprises. It comes from what you refer to as the informal sector, what many in Kenya refer to as the Jua Kali.”
The agreement was signed between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Corporate Council on Africa.
It provides a framework for Kenyan and American businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises to partner through information sharing, training, logistics and financing.
The Head of State assured of his administration's commitment to support the implementation of the trade pact saying its success is the success of Kenyans, the Government and the country at large.
He also called on the American Government to be a reliable and predictable trading partner for the initiative to succeed.
“There is a need to understand that if we really want to establish a base to be respected and to be known as a reliable partner, you cannot stop and start every five years. People don’t know about Democrats and Republicans, they know and understand the United States of America,” Uhuru said.
“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.”
KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki said their focus is 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 CCA.
“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 the African Growth and Opportunity Act -the training, the logistics, the financing and that is what we want to do,” she said.
CCA chief executive Florie Liser commended Uhuru for creating a conducive business environment for local and foreign investments to thrive by championing progressive policies and setting up the enabling infrastructure.
The president who is on a two day visit in the US was accompanied to the meeting by National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya, Cabinet Secretaries Betty Maina (Industrialization) and Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs).
Edited by N.Agutu