KNCCI to expand Kenyan business opportunities in the US market

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The Nairobi Chamber of Commerce CEO Nemaisa Kiereini signs the partnership agreement with US based Center of International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Looking on from her right are the Chamber chairman Richard Ngatia and CIPE regional boss for Africa Lars Benson. Photo credit: Daily Nation.

Over 2000 commercial enterprises in three counties are set to expand their business opportunities into the expansive US market by December 2018.

This follows the signing of a partnership between Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and Center of International Private Enterprise (CIPE), in Nairobi Friday.

CIPE is a US-based organisation affiliated to the US Chamber of Commerce.

The partnership was signed between CIPE regional director for Africa, Lars Benson and the chairman of Nairobi Chamber, Richard Ngatia at ceremony that was also attended by the Chamber chief executive officer Nemaisa Kiereini.

It will see Vihiga, Mombasa and Nairobi chambers get technical assistance and market linkages to open opportunities for businesses at the county level to access the American market.

“Kenya and the US are very close allies economically however inter country trade has been more favourable to the US since Kenyan markets do not understand the US market. This partnership is set to open opportunities for American-Kenya trade”, Mr Benson said.

He said CIPE will work with Vihiga, Nairobi and Mombasa County Chambers to improve their governance, financial resources and service to members through training, technical assistance and small grants.

The KNCCI-CIPE partnership will support the three county chamber chapters, which have shown high commitment and dedication in exercising their mandate, the regional boss noted.

Mr Ngatia said the Nairobi chamber would capitalize on this partnership to foster its brand and enhance its service offering to its members.

“Already the Chamber has signed an MOU with the Nairobi County government to develop ways that will ease doing business in Nairobi with specific focus on small businesses in the city”, Mr  Ngatia said.

The Nairobi Chamber CEO said the selected chambers were put through a rigorous selection process in which 10 counties submitted their applications for the partnership support.

Nairobi Chamber Coordinator, Mr Patrick Nyangweso pointed out that in this first phase the chamber would be working with the selected three county chambers and increase the number in the next phase.

The partnership will also support sustainability of the other county chambers to grow their membership services and enhance policy development to support businesses at the county level.

The CIPE-KNCCI partnership is expected to support more county chambers in the 2019/2020 financial year.

According to the Office of United States Trade Representative website, Kenya is the 85th largest goods trading partner in the US with a total of $1.5 billion goods traded between the two countries in 2015. The US exported aircrafts, machinery, cereals, electrical machinery and special repairs to Kenya during the period while Kenya exported woven apparel, knit apparel, coffee, tea, edible fruits and macadamia nuts totalling to $565 million in 2015.