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US targets East Africa`s textile market with $65m trade hub in Kenya

The United States is keen on boosting trade ties with East Africa and has launched a $65 million trade hub in Kenya to further such relations. Robert Godec, US Ambassador to Kenya, announced this at the opening of Origin Africa, a two-day textile industry trade fair in Nairobi.

The trade hub will run under President Obama’s “Trade Africa” initiative, which was launched in July last year (2013). It serves as a partnership between the United States and sub Saharan Africa aimed at growing regional and international trade between both regions.

Godec said Kenya was selected because of its position as the region’s leading economy and its speedy implementation of productive trade policies. It is also home to promising local enterprises that are forming creative partnerships with multinational companies, a lot of which are US companies.

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, said in a statement that “Kenya wants to be among the first movers in Africa by creating an enabling environment to attract investment (by foreigners and locals)”. The government has therefore organised a detailed programme to improve Kenya’s business sector and its standards in the global market .

“This includes a 40-month programme to inject over 5,000MW of electricity into the National Grid and reduce the cost of power by over 40 percent by end of this calendar year; and plans to fast track the Standard Gauge Railway project and build 10,000km of road infrastructure through an innovative financing model,” President Kenyatta said.

Kenya’s Textile industry has the potential to create 200,000 jobs in the next two years, making it a key area for government intervention. This project will enable Kenyans access this market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the European Union Economic Partnership Agreements and other facilities that encourage emerging markets to focus on key growth industries.

The United States intends to expand its collaboration with regional economic communities in Africa. It had initially launched the Power Africa initiative, a $7 billion public-private partnership designed to light up Africa. Since the power declaration by US President Barack Obama in 2013, the US has realised an increase in the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Power Africa project can prove equally effective in enhancing Kenya’s natural resources. This is certain to spur textile production and advance economic growth.

Source: Ventures Africa

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