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Biden commits to making Kenya an investment beacon for Africa

Biden commits to making Kenya an investment beacon for Africa

Business Insider Africa | 30th October 2023

By Adekunle Agbetiloye

The Biden administration has committed to enhancing Kenya’s investment environment to serve as a blueprint for other African nations under the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations.

Constance Hamilton, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa and the chief negotiator in these discussions stressed that the negotiations aim to transform Nairobi into an attractive hub for multinational corporations and generate employment opportunities for Kenya’s skilled but unemployed youth.

Both countries are engaged in negotiations within the framework of the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) whose terms they initiated in July 2022, before the conclusion of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term in office.

“The STIP is actually a way Kenya will undertake, and we, together we’ll undertake additional commitments that we believe will improve Kenya’s investment climate and environment, and that at the end of the day, Kenya will be in a better place to attract the kind of investment for the kind of job growth that they’re looking for,” Ms Hamilton told a digital press conference ahead of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Johannesburg later this week.

“When we launched this [STIP] under the previous administration and under the current administration, the guidance we got is that it has to work,” she said.

Kenya has long sought a full free trade agreement with the US to replace the two-decade-old Agoa deal, but progress has been dragged by regime change in both countries, Business Daily reported.

The AGOA pact, initially implemented in 2000 and later renewed for a decade in June 2015, provides sub-Saharan African countries with duty- and quota-free access to the United States for numerous products, including food and beverages, wood, plastics, and rubber, but Kenya has primarily focused on the apparel sector within this agreement.

Ms Hamilton maintained that the STIP will not graduate Kenya out of Agoa that the US Trade Representative was keen to renew upon expiry mid-2025 subject to approval by lawmakers – the Congress.

“The lessons learned from 25 years of Agoa is that we have to do better,” she said, citing the findings of the US International Trade Commission earlier in the year.

“It’s an exciting time to be doing business in the region, creating more jobs and promoting US-Kenya shared prosperity,” Ms Whitman told the two-day American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Business Summit in March.

 source: Business Insider Africa