The USAID Hub is participating in Kenya’s 6th Annual Devolution from March 4-8, 2019 in Kirinyaga County. The Conference’s main objective is to discuss the country’s Big 4 Agenda, which outlines Kenya’s development goals through 2022 under four pillars namely: manufacturing, food security, affordable housing and affordable healthcare.
The Hub is capitalizing the event to engage stakeholders at the national and county level and to disseminate information on how to take advantage of trade opportunities offered by the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Kenya recently launched the Kenya National African Growth and Opportunity Act Strategy and Action Plan. The document offers a specific roadmap to expand Kenya’s exports to the U.S. and double its value by 2022.1 Target sectors under the strategy include: apparel, home décor and personal accessories, processed and specialty foods including nuts, flowers, coffee, tea, fresh fruits and vegetables. The overall approach of the strategy includes multiple actions in areas that range from expanding market share and diversifying buyers to facilitating trade, to developing skills, increasing productivity, building trade support capacity and developing export supply.
Since the launch of the new constitution of Kenya in 2010, joint efforts have been made to ensure that devolution is a success. Both the National Government and 47 County Governments have taken significant steps to implement devolution. The Hub acknowledges the key role played by the County Governments and has embarked on engaging them to implement the action items outlined in the Kenya’s National AGOA Strategy and Action Plan. Some of the key roles County Government will play include:
- Enterprise Development Support that will involve entrepreneur training and trade extensions,
- Improvement of County infrastructure by providing proper logistics and storage facilities,
- Investment facilitation and attraction through expedited and simplified trade licensing,
- Branding of County’s key export commodities.
USAID, through the Hub, supported the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives and Kenya’s private sector to develop the strategy. The Hub provided technical assistance to the Ministry to review the achievements of the Kenya’s previous strategy (2012-2016); analyze Kenya’s trade patterns with the U.S.; identify sectors with competitive export products; assess supply-side challenges and determine strategic action plans.
AGOA has been the cornerstone of U.S. economic engagement with Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries since it was signed into law by the U.S. Congress in 2000, and has shifted the focus of U.S.-Kenyan economic relations from aid to trade and investment.