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USAID grant signed to create 2,000 new jobs for youth in the apparel industry

Signed a new grant with Generation Program Kenya Limited, a local subsidiary of the McKinsey Social Initiative. Working hand-in-hand with Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and apparel companies, the program will set up and equip seven training centers throughout Kenya, provide over 100,000 hours in skills development and train 2,000 Kenyan youth, preparing them for full-time sewing machine operator jobs in the industry.  The grant is a part of the Hub’s larger “East Africa Cotton, Textile and Apparel Workforce Development Initiative,” a collaboration between the Hub and the American Apparel and Footwear Association that will ensure U.S. brands and retailers’ goods are manufactured in accordance with best business practices and operations in East Africa, producing a win-win for trading partners.

Kenyan woman-owned home-décor company enters mainstream U.S. market

Supported a Kenyan home decor producer to ship her largest-to-date U.S. order. Valued at $200,000, the deal is as a result of the Hub-organized Cost Plus World Market Trade Mission. (see success story at the end of this report) The profit from this order will go to the nearly 400 artisans who contributed to each hand-carved piece and will help finance her next big export to the U.S., which shouldn’t be far off given her now proven capacity for high-volume supply.

Read more here

The Hub supports increased investments in the upcoming Kenya Leather Park

On June 30, the Hub’s leather advisor completed his contract, during which he facilitated $9 million in total investment commitments for the upcoming Kenya Leather Park and a trade deal between Bata Shoes Kenya, Kenya Defense Forces and the Kenya Prisons Services to supply a total of $1.9 million in new sales of officer’s boots and shoes. Also in the leather sector, the Hub supported an India-based ‘trainer of trainers’ session that provided new eco-friendly technologies for best practices in leather finishing and production for five Kenyan tanneries and leather companies.

The Hub facilitates $36M new private sector investments

The Hub has facilitated $30,633,968 new private sector investments in the ag and non ag sector in Kenya. The Hub offers transaction support services. Eligible investors include private equity funds, commercial banks, impact funds, and development finance institutions. The Hub’s transaction team acts as a neutral intermediary to provide: opportunity validation market intelligence, fundraising support, due diligence, deal structuring, financial analysis and modelling. 

The Hub has helped financially close $51m of investments over the life of the project, $33.9 million in the agricultural and food chain sector and $17.4 million in the non-ag sector. There are $165 million of deals under review in the Hub’s investment pipeline. Over 

Product development excellence training for SMEs

Facilitated training on product development excellence for selected SMEs in the sector, in collaboration with Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC). The training covered a wide range of topics in product development, including: product development planning, product development process, managing cross-functional teams and how to generate superior value products.

Helped leather enterprises develop innovative products that can compete globally, with a focus on company owners and senior management – those who can implement the concepts on which they were trained.

Trade and export facilitation through “Buy Kenya Build Kenya” strategy

Facilitated Kenya’s leading player in the formal footwear sector and the largest buyer of raw leather, Bata Kenya, to access opportunities for supplying Kenya Defense Forces with military boots and shoes.

Linked Bata Kenya to SMEs who have since started sourcing specialized finished leather for manufacture of leather goods, resulting in approximately $1.9 million in new sales.

Introduced MAS Tannery, a company established in 2004 that specializes in tanning (wet blue), to new markets in Turkey, India and Egypt. This allowed the company to increase exports to new clients  by approximately $500,000 per month.

Investor mobilization for the Kenya Leather Park



Supported Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture to purchase 50,000 MT of maize from Ethiopia for the Kenyan Strategic Grain Reserve, bringing the total maize trade facilitated by the Hub between Ethiopia and the East African region to $100 million in the current season. 

Related Blogs and Resources

How Tosheka Designs Is pushing Kenya into forward - Thinking fashion production

Published on August 29, 2017
t’s not every day you meet business owners that are profoundly connected to the international fashion community. Lucy and Herman Bigham of Tosheka Designs are shaping what it means to be sustainable in Kenya one eri silk worm at a time. Tosheka Designs is a fabric and textile company based in Philadelphia that manufactures home goods, accessories and purses by using sustainable resources and techniques in Nairobi, Kenya. Since early 2011, the duo have been working diligently to patent a unique process of producing cotton through the era silk worm. It is one of the only worms that you can extract silk from without killing it. On the days leading up to the Kenyan election, I exchanged emails with the East Africa - based power couple about the ins and outs of their business and if the effect of the election would have any indication on their organization. It turns out that the Kenyan government supports their efforts despite all the unrest in their country currently taking place. Go inside our conversation. Read more. Source | Huff Post
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Lobbies want trade barriers removed

Published on August 08, 2017
Kenyan and Tanzanian businesses are calling for the elimination of various non-tariff barriers that slow down trade between the two countries. A consultative meeting held in Dar es Salaam last week between the Tanzania Private Sector Federation (TPSF) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) noted that Kenyan exporters of cement, edible oils, cigarettes and other products still encounter restrictions on entry into Tanzania while Tanzanian dairy traders are finding it difficult to export to Kenya. “There is a need to facilitate administrative processes on the movement of goods, including clearance at border points,” the trade lobbies said in a joint communiqué after the meeting on Thursday. Read more. Source | The East African
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Heifer International to give 2,000 online access to agriculture data

Published on August 03, 2017
The Heifer International has launched a programme to provide more agricultural market information to 2,000 farmers who have no Internet access. The non-profit firm, based in Arkansas, US, said it is partnering with London-based Wefarm, a free service that lets farmers use mobile phones to ask questions or seek tips through a local number. The responses come from other farmers who are on the network and have answers to the questions posed. The Heifer-Wefarm partnership targets farmers in Nakuru County, said George Odhiambo, Heifer country director in Kenya. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Kenya launches U.S. three million dollar credit facility for smallholder farmers

Published on August 02, 2017
The Kenyan ministry of agriculture on Tuesday signed an agreement worth 3 million U.S. dollars with a local bank, Equity Bank to boost access to credit among smallholder farmers who contribute an estimated 70 percent of food production in the country. Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett said the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme agreement (ACGS) with Equity Bank will cushion smallholders from under-financing that hinders productivity. "This new credit guarantee scheme will enable small scale farmers’ access funds to cater for critical inputs like seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. We are exploring new financing models for smallholders to enhance sustainability of their enterprise," said Bett. Read more. Source | Coast Week
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Kenya, Tanzania remove trade restrictions

Published on July 24, 2017
Tanzania and Kenya have held successful talks that will see the lifting of restrictions on imports from either country. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, announced the decision in Nairobi yesterday following discussions between President John Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. As a result, Kenya will lift the ban on wheat flour and gas imports from Tanzania, which, in turn, will remove restrictions on milk and cigarettes from Kenya. Read more. Source | The Citizen
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Duty-free window for maize extended

Published on July 24, 2017
The Treasury has extended duty waiver on imported yellow and white maize in a move aimed at increasing supply of the staple. The extension, contained in a special issue of the gazette notice signed by Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich, will see millers enjoy the duty waiver on white maize for three more months. Yellow maize window will be open for one year. The waiver on white maize was supposed to end on July 31 but it has now been extended to September 30. The exemption on yellow maize was supposed to expire on August 31 but this has been pushed to June 30, 2018. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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New programme to sharpen textile skills for 2,000 youth

Published on July 24, 2017
About 2,000 youth are set to get jobs in the apparel industry following the signing of a deal to be spearheaded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub). The programme signed with Generation Program Kenya Limited — a local subsidiary of the McKinsey Social Initiative — will equip young people with skills needed in the apparel industry. The pilot programme, to be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrialisation, will see seven training centres set up and equipped across the country. The pilot plan, that will also involve the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, will include screening of 4000 youth for training and job placement in the apparel industry. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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US bets on apparel sourcing in Africa with grant to create 2,000 new jobs

Published on July 14, 2017
Companies may be on the fence about whether to commit to sourcing apparel in Africa, but the U.S. seems certain enough about the continent’s potential to keep investing in the sector there—and namely in Kenya. Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) signed a grant with Kenya that will create 2,000 full-time jobs and provide more than 100,000 hours in skills development for young workers in the apparel industry. While Africa ramps up as a region for more robust apparel sourcing, the biggest hindrance for those that haven’t taken their business there has been both a lack of sophisticated logistics and a lack of skills in the apparel sector. Read More. Source | Sourcing Journal
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