Kenya is actively engaged in negotiations with the United States to secure a significant ten-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

This strategic move aims to bolster Kenya’s textile industry and enhance its export capabilities, particularly in the realm of textiles and garments.

Juma Mukhwana, the Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, underscored the importance of this trade extension and the impact that it will have on the country.

“A team is already in the US leading negotiations on the extension of the AGOA,” said Dr Mukhwana on Tuesday.

In 2022, Kenya’s textile and garment sector played a substantial role in the nation’s exports, contributing a noteworthy seven percent to the country’s total export volume. This translated into monthly exports of textile products valued at an impressive Ksh4.5 billion.

PS Industrialisation Dr Mukwhana and officials from ITME. Image: courtesy.
PS Industrialisation Dr Mukwhana and officials from ITME. Image: courtesy.

The PS made the remarks during a breakfast meeting organised by the India Textile Society, which is poised to hold its eagerly anticipated second edition of the ITME Africa and Middle East Expo in Nairobi next month.

The event has garnered significant attention, with 24 countries confirming their participation. It promises to be a pivotal platform for fostering collaborations and showcasing the dynamism of the textile industry in the region.

Kenya’s optimism hinges on the United States’ decision to extend AGOA, as the current agreement is set to expire in 2025. The extension is seen as a pivotal opportunity to secure a steady and thriving export channel for Kenyan textile and garment products into the American market.

Beyond negotiations with the United States, Dr Mukhwana reveals that Kenya is actively pursuing discussions with Indian textile companies. The goal is to entice these companies to establish a robust presence within Kenya, catering to the escalating demand for textiles both within the nation and on the international stage.

This endeavor has already borne fruit, with several Indian companies expressing their intent to establish subsidiaries in Kenya. These prospective subsidiaries would serve as a gateway to tap into the vast potential of regional markets.

Kenya’s proactive efforts in international trade, combined with its negotiations with the United States and collaborations with Indian textile companies, paint a promising future for the nation’s textile and garment industry.

The upcoming ITME Africa and Middle East Expo in Nairobi underscores Kenya’s commitment to harnessing its potential as a key player in the global textile market.