President Uhuru Kenyatta has said more partnerships between Kenyan and American Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will help unlock the huge trade potential that exists between the two nations.
The President invited American SMEs to invest more in the country by entering into mutually beneficial arrangements with their Kenyan counterparts, adding that the enterprises are the backbone of Kenya’s vibrant economy.
“This is where the real opportunity lies. This is not to say that we are telling the big boys not to come in, they are already here. The big corporates are already here but they don’t have the capacity to propel inclusive growth as the small and medium enterprises that have a much greater capacity of affecting lives and changing the livelihoods at the grassroots level,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke Tuesday evening during a virtual US Chamber of Commerce Global Leaders’ Forum on Economic Recovery.
The President said Kenya is keen on concluding negotiations for the free trade agreement with the US, and underscored the importance of the private sector in Kenya’s economic growth and job creation.
He invited American enterprises to set shop in Kenya saying the country provides a ready market for US products, and has an expanding economy supported by an innovative and highly skilled young labour force that is ready to absorb American investments and technology.
“I believe this is a mutually beneficial relationship that offers investment opportunities with great returns for American companies while at the same time offering job opportunities to Kenyans,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also spoke about climate change, saying Kenya was utilizing mobile phone technologies to boost environmental conservation and agricultural productivity efforts by sharing of information on smart farming practices, better soil management and water conservation practices with farmers.
“These are some of the things that we are doing to improve farming but also to make it more climate-friendly while at the same time increasing yields and reducing costs to farmers,” President Kenyatta said.
He said Kenya had made tremendous progress in the energy sector where the focus has been on the use of green sources of electricity to power the country’s agriculture and industrial sectors.
“Kenya is, for example, ranked among the top 10 in the world because we now have almost 90 percent of our power coming from green sources – be it geothermal, wind or solar as well as hydro which has been the traditional source in Kenya for a very long time,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also spoke about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), saying the multilateral trade arrangement had consolidated Africa’s market of over one billion people into one basket making the continent an attractive investment destination for American businesses.
On Covid-19, President Kenyatta said his administration’s adoption of a whole-of-government approach had helped slow down the spread of the disease in the country.
He called for increased availability of vaccines to African countries, saying focus must be directed to ensuring that developing and developed countries have equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
“No one is going to be safe until everybody is safe. The world economy is not going to recover until everybody is safe. Vaccines availability is going to be the key to getting the world economy back on its feet,” President Kenyatta said.
US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant assured President Kenyatta of his association’s full backing of the Kenya-US free trade agreement negotiations and the country’s Covid-19 containment efforts.
“We also support Kenya in combating the pandemic (Covid-19), and support your efforts in enhancing trade and investment opportunities,” Mr. Brilliant said.
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