VENTURES AFRICA – Kenya’s cosy relationship with the U.S is seemingly growing by the day. Within a few months, two of the most important political figures would have visited the East African state—Secretary of State John Kerry was welcomed a few weeks ago, while the country is bracing up for President Obama’s visit in July. Kenya though will be hoping for more American visits, particularly from investors.
Ahead of Obama’s July visit, the United States Embassy in Nairobi has confirmed that several trade delegations are expected in East Africa’s largest economy. According to the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, these delegations will comprise of private sector teams and senior government officials and will be scouting for investment opportunities and fresh business deals. Although the exact number of investors is yet to be disclosed, the US diplomat believes a substantial number of deals will be signed in due course. “Kenya will benefit from investments from America before and after President Obama’s visit. Americans have invested in the country over the years, and will continue to increase as part of enhancing trade ties between the two countries.”
Kenya has always been a significant investment destination for the West; recently, its capital city Nairobi was adjudged the leading African city for foreign direct investments (FDI), a huge chunk of which comes from the U.S, Europe, and China. The country’s exports to the U.S grew by 35.2 percent to Sh45.6 billion ($472 million) last year. Also, its total value of exports increased by 27.9 percent to Sh38.2 billion ($396 million) within the same period, comprising mainly of apparel and clothing accessories, coffee and titanium ores and concentrates.
To further deepen this friendship, members of the U.S Chambers of Commerce have also planned to arrange a business summit in the country before the year runs out. In an earlier interview, Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, expressed the eagerness of the group to invest in Kenya. “We are eager to expand our market share in Kenya and the entire EAC region.”
This decision was informed by region’s continuous demonstration of sustainable growth and the willingness of its member states for foster a stronger economic cooperation. Members of the East African Community—Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania—are targeting a multi-sector cooperation that will promote economies of scale, specialization and development. This quest that has tipped the community to become Africa’s first economic bloc.
By Emmanuel Iruobe