By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday witnessed the signing of a detailed private sector agreement that seeks to expand trade and investments between Kenya and the United States of America.
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.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York, on the first day of his two-day official visit to the US, the President said 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 noted that the agreement will create new opportunities for Kenyan SMEs, saying the sector plays a key role in guaranteeing the country’s economic resilience, especially in times of turbulence.
“I have always had the opportunity of saying that Kenya is a country that people always wonder where the resilience of our economy comes from. Despite a myriad of shocks occasioned over the years, a country always proves to be very resilient.
“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 President stated.
President Kenyatta noted that both Kenyan and US economies are driven mainly by SMEs, saying that the agreement would help accelerate Kenya’s economic recovery efforts from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He thanked CCA for its commitment to strengthening African-American economic ties, saying the improving trade and investment relations between the US and Kenya were largely due to the organization’s good work.
At the same time, President Kenyatta challenged the American Government to be a reliable and predictable trading partner for the initiative to succeed.
“Reliability and predictability in a partner are critical. To our American friends, I would like to say that you know you cannot start and stop a discussion with partners based on one administration after another. Relationships are between countries and people, not between administrations.
“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,” the President said, adding that the US needs to focus on long-term engagements and commitments with African countries.
On her part, the CEO of CCA, Florie 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