Businessmen Plead With Joe Biden Over Unemployment in Kenya

  • U.S President Joe Biden on a call
    U.S President Joe Biden on a call
    US Embassy
  • The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has requested US President Joe Biden not to end the duty-free access agreement with Kenya. 

    The association noted that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) agreement if expunged, would exacerbate the unemployment situation in Kenya.

    KAM explained that the agreement should be carried on either as part of a bilateral trade agreement or through the renewal of AGOA.

    "With unemployment and under-employment challenges in Kenya at a record high, the contribution of AGOA to creating job opportunities cannot be underestimated,” the association noted.

    The Kenya Association of Manufacturers building.
    The Kenya Association of Manufacturers building.
    File

    The agreement is set to expire in 2025 and the Biden-led administration is yet to issue a statement over its renewal, sparking doubts on whether White House will be committed to prolonging the deal. 

    KAM received support from the US Business Group known as Corporate Council on Africa noting that the agreement accounted for northwards of 50,000 jobs.

    Kenya also exports the highest apparel to the US valued at Ksh54 billion (USD449 million).

    "(Kenya is) the largest AGOA exporter of apparel to the U.S, totalling Ksh54 million ($449 million) in 2021 and accounting for some 50,000 direct jobs.

    "(It is) important that we have an agreement with Kenya that establishes a broader economic partnership that goes beyond AGOA’s unilateral preferences and addresses more than just tariffs and goods market access,” the group argued as reported by Politico.

    The new request comes on the backdrop of the US surpassing Uganda as the largest buyer of goods from Kenya.

    Total exports to the US surpassed the Ksh38.8 billion mark in the first half of 2022 mostly influenced by clothes, a growth of 47 per cent.

    In the same period, the US exported goods worth Ksh84 billion to Kenya mostly made of aircraft, plastics, machinery and wheat.

    Other trade markets for Kenyan goods include Pakistan, Netherlands, UK and Tanzania.

    US President-elect Joe Biden addressing a public forum at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi on June 9, 2010.
    US President-elect Joe Biden addressing a public forum at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi on June 9, 2010.
    File