Nairobi — United States Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman has revealed that the US-Kenya bilateral trade agreement is set to be concluded by the end of the year as a pace setter for Africa.
Speaking at the Devolution Conference in Eldoret Uasin Gishu, Whitman stated that the bilateral trade agreement between Kenya and the US will be a first of its kind to be negotiated by the US government.
“We hope this bilateral agreement will be concluded by the end of the year and it will be a model to the rest of the African continent once signed,” she said.
The United States and Kenya held pre-negotiating discussions in February this year and the first negotiating rounds in April 2023.
According to Whitman, the United States is highly interested in Kenya trade investment climate.
“Kenya has attracted many foreign direct investments. It has received more venture capital funding than anywhere else on the African continent,” she observed.
Whitman has advised that even if President William Ruto’s administration has made great strides in building a business-friendly environment for foreign investors there is still room for improvement by addressing challenges that come up.
“Kenya is the leading financial hub, it is the gateway to the East Africa market because 80 per cent of the regional trade passes through Kenya Mombasa port,” she added.
Whitman further indicated that many central and international banks are in the state capital city, Nairobi therefore making Kenya the number one investment trade destination.
She has also called on Rutos administration to address challenges facing Cargo and container clearance at the Mombasa port.
“Despite improving logistics, the delivery cost of a container to Kenya remains significantly higher than container shipment landing in Europe and Asia,” she said.
Back in the year 2010 it took over 11 days to clear a container at the port of Mombasa but to date the government established measures to ease the process where now container clearance takes 3-4 days despite cargo increasing over the past 5 years.
In July 2020, the United States and Kenya entered negotiations to seek a high standard agreement that will also complement regional integration efforts within the East African Community EAC and African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA.
Kenya has already signed bilateral trade agreements with many countries including China, India Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Rwanda and Tanzania.