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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

Kenya-US direct flights herald trade, tourism boom for East Africa

Published on February 28, 2017
Trade between East Africa and the United States is set to increase after the latter’s Federal Aviation Administration granted Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport a Category One status, finalising a pact that heralds the beginning of direct flights to America from Nairobi. By attaining the highest International Aviation Safety Assessment status, Nairobi can now cement its position as the region’s aviation hub for both passengers and cargo. Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said national carrier Kenya Airways and other interested local operators will fly directly from Kenya to the US once the necessary approvals and last point of departure (LPD) rights are granted. Read more. Source | East African
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Kenyan bags hit Europe fashion houses

Published on February 24, 2017
When Lupita Nyong’o, an Oscar award winner, graced the red carpet in US three years ago, the focus was on her one-shoulder dress which was paired with a Sh350,000 Chesneau Heltzel python leather box clutch. The timeless python skin bag was made in Kenya and Rudolf Heltzel, a world renowned fashion house from Ireland bejewelled it. Later that year, Michelle Dockery, another actress and singer donned a similar clutch. Only 12 pieces were made and they sold out fast. Kenya has had many moments in the high-fashion sun with designers showcasing on international runways and now made-in-Kenya bags that have a hint of the wild are finding space in international luxury shops and creating a celebrity gold rush. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Regional lobby, USAid eye cheap Ethiopia maize to ease shortage

Published on February 20, 2017
A regional grain body and a US aid agency are working with millers and traders to import cheap maize from Ethiopia to ease the current shortage of the commodity that has hit the country. East African Grain Council (EAGC) and the USAID trade hub want to link Kenyan buyers to Ethiopian sellers to import the grain into the country. Last week, EAGC executive director Gerald Masila was in Ethiopia to discuss the trade deal while the Ethiopian delegation will be in the country this week for negotiation with millers. Ethiopia has a surplus of 1.5 million bags that they are willing to sell to Kenya. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Kenya sets up unit for marketing Maasai beads to US, Europe

Published on February 16, 2017
Kenya has created a unit that will market beads in foreign capitals in the quest to sell unique breast plates, earrings and bracelets to US and European consumers. The Tourism ministry has established the Ushanga Kenya Initiative to be manned by an independent executive to research the bead-making industry and explore new markets for products. The main market for the beads remains Kenya, but now beading is selling at higher prices to a small clique of European designers. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Nairobi to host post-harvest technology competition

Published on February 13, 2017
Over 200 innovators, researchers and individuals from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are expected to showcase technologies to curb post-harvest food losses in Nairobi, Kenya on May. The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), James Shikwati said the exhibition has been organised to address challenges in the post-harvest management of food-crop commodities and enhance labor. The competition will enable organisers to identify a range of technologies to ultimately mitigate post-harvest losses in East Africa. Read more. Source | Daily News
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Kenya to boost textile production with more domestic sales

Published on February 02, 2017
 Kenya is putting in place policy reforms to boost local textile production, including by encouraging domestic sales, a senior official said Friday. Minister of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Adan Mohamed told a media briefing that the measures include allowing textile firms in the Export Promotion Zones to sell up to 20 percent of their produce locally without paying duties.“This will allow textile firms to take advantage of growing demand for apparel products by the growing middle class and hence boost the sector,” Mohamed said. “We want to make sure our citizens have access to the high quality export products that are sold to overseas market,” he said during the launch of the Progress Report on Textile and Apparel Industry. Read more. Source | Coast Week
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How smallholder farmers are using technology to fix market, credit woes

Published on February 02, 2017
Pius Mitei, a small-scale farmer in Rift Valley, tried his hand at agribusiness in 2015 for the first time. He bought 200 chickens, but lack of quality inputs and limited knowledge of the poultry business saw him record losses. Short of new capital to inject into the venture, he abandoned it and took up an informal job in the transport industry.Then mid last year he came across FarmDrive, a local IT firm driving the financial inclusion agenda for farmers. He sat through a training session conducted by the firm at Kampi ya Moto and got to learn how to access credit to start off his poultry venture afresh. After signing up with FarmDrive, Mitei got his first loan the same month, enabling him to buy new stock and feeds. Read more. Source | Daily Nation
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Kenyan produce exporter picked for Africa award

Published on January 31, 2017
A Kenyan fresh-produce exporter is among six Africa-based businesses set to battle it out for the Africa Finance and Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017 in Nairobi next week. EuroFresh Exotics, a company that exports fresh fruits and vegetables, was nominated based on its potential for growth and job creation as well as for its social, economic and ecological impact. The firm exports mainly snow peas, sugar snaps, passion fruits, avocados, French beans and bird’s-eye chillies. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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