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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

Uganda joins Kenya, Rwanda in abolishing work permits for professionals

Published on June 16, 2015
Uganda has finally joined Kenya and Rwanda in abolishing work permits for professionals following the signing of an agreement. In a 2010 arrangement, Rwanda and Kenya agreed to waive work permit fees for either county’s citizens, although the work permits themselves were still a requirement before one could secure employment in either country. In October 2013, Uganda promised to follow suit but it was not until last week that Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Okello Oryem and his Kenyan and Rwandan counterparts Amina Mohammed and Louise Mushikiwabo respectively, signed the agreement to liberalise the movement of labour.  The three countries can thus partially meet the deadline set in the East African Community Common Market Protocol to liberalise the movement of labour before the end of 2015. Tanzania and Burundi still require work permits for which all non-nationals have to pay fees. Read more. Source | East African
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Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya: No more work permits necessary

Published on June 16, 2015
Good news came in over the weekend that Uganda has finally signed on to the lifting of work permit requirements for citizens of Rwanda and Kenya, which had between them already gone ahead in 2013 to abolish these requirements and implement the East African Community’s protocol on the freedom of movement of labor. The deal was signed on occasion of the recent summit held in Kampala of the three countries now best described as the "Coalition of the Willing" among the East African Community’s five member states. Increasingly over the past years have qualified staff from East Africa been recruited into managerial positions and a number of professionals like accountants, lawyers and doctors too have benefitted from the mutual recognition of qualifications, allowing them to practice their vocation in any of the three states, subject to registration with the respective professional bodies. The move is expected to help the three countries in recruiting competent skilled labour, which in the past was often sourced from international markets, but the cost advantage in Uganda will be a major one for employers who have to pay up to 2.500 US Dollars in annual work permit fees for citizens from third countries. Read more. Source | ETN News
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Kenyan ambassador urges Minnesota companies to invest in Kenya

Published on June 15, 2015
Kenyan ambassador on Monday asked Minnesota business leaders to sharpen their focus on East Africa, a region ripe for infrastructure and other investments as its political and commercial climates stabilize. Ambassador Robinson Njeru Githae pinpointed opportunities, particularly through public-private partnerships, targeting Kenya’s fast-expanding energy and education sectors. He also flagged much-needed roadway improvements and an increasingly sophisticated medical industry and noted space for manufacturing growth. As in other rising countries around the world, a fast-growing middle class has increased the cash flowing through the Kenya economy and boosted demand in the country for higher-quality products and services – major draws for businesses and investors from more established economies. “Kenya is ready for takeoff,” Githae told about two dozen business leaders at a breakfast discussion hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “The investment opportunities are huge and I would like the business people from this great state to think about how you can invest in this country.” A push for a bigger U.S. buy-in comes about a half-decade after Kenya drafted a more liberal constitution that, in part, makes it more commercially accessible and inclusive for domestic players and those abroad. In addition, an anti-corruption campaign has weeded out dozens of problematic officials. Read more. Source | Finance and Commerce
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Targets Kenya must aim for in Agoa renewal

Published on June 15, 2015
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is set to expire this September. Agoa provides about 6,500 African products with a preferential quota and duty-free access to the United States market. Over the past 13 years, Agoa has been important to Kenya and Africa because unlike economic partnership agreements, the Act is non-reciprocal and unilateral – preferences apply only to African imports entering the US and not US exports into African countries. Basically, African products are allowed to enter the US with limited tariffs which makes them more marketable. Kenya has already benefited from Agoa through textiles, spices, coffee, tea, fruits and nuts exports. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Foreign companies partner with local ICT firms to grow business

Published on June 15, 2015
Foreign technology companies are increasingly setting up camp in Kenya, investing billions of shillings in partnerships with local firms that fall within the vibrant small and medium enterprise segment. Mauritius-headquartered Pan African telecoms operator Gondwana International Networks (GIN) through iWayAfrica, is the latest entrant last week.The company teamed up with local SevenC computing to offer online office management services through iManage to SMEs in East Africa. “The SME sector in Kenya is growing; there is need to offer development information storage and backup mechanisms that impact on net performance and overall output. We are in this space to ensure that our SMEs as well as big corporates have the capacity to work,” said iWay Africa Director Kenneth Munyi. Read more. Source | Daily Nation  
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Kenya inches closer to new Agoa deal as US Congress okays Bill

Published on June 15, 2015
The US Congress approved the trade African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Bill last week, marking a crucial step in a campaign that will safeguard Kenya’s 40,000 jobs and investments worth billions of shillings. Sources tallied the unofficial vote by the Full House at 397 for the Bill against 32 who opposed it. “I am very pleased to report that the Agoa Renewal Bill was approved by the full House of Representatives this afternoon,” Paul Ryberg, President of the African Coalition for Trade said in an e-mail message to African exporters on Thursday. Mr Ryberg has been leading the continent’s campaign to have the preferential trade window—which officially expires at the end of September, to be extended by another 15 years. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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The first private equity in East Africa conference

Published on June 11, 2015
The East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) successfully held the inaugural annual Private Equity in East Africa Conference this past Tuesday. The event was well attended by industry practitioners and stakeholders both from within and outside the East African region.
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New app to connect Kenyan farmers with climate-smart seeds

Published on June 11, 2015
A new app launched in Kenya on Wednesday could help millions of farmers adapt to climate change by offering information on the best seeds for changing growing conditions, agriculture experts said. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of Kenya's employment, according to U.S. government figures, so an increase in food production would dramatically improve living standards. The free "MbeguChoice" app is the first tool of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, and was developed by a 25-year-old Kenyan software engineer. "MbeguChoice" means seed choice in Swahili. Read more. Source | Thomson Reuters Foundation
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