Category Archives: AGOA

Kenya Agri Exports to the EU take a Hit?

An ad in the September 22 Nation newspaper  has a statement by the European Union addressed to exporters from the East African Community on changes to the tariff regime starting on October 1 owing to the failure of the two sides to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

There was also an article in the same paper showing that a draft has been agreed to, and that a final EPA may be signed and effected in time, but others say it is too late for this.

The new rates, while still subsidized compared to what other nation suppliers pay to export to the EU, are still a blow considering that some exports will no longer be duty-free.

EU Agri

EU newspaper ad

While some like tea, coffee beans & carnations will remain duty-free, Kenyan exporters will pay subsidized rates  of 4.5% on tilapia exports (compared to a normal EU rate of 8%), 2.5% for roast coffee (not 7.5%), 10.9% for mixed vegetables (not 14.4%), and 5% for roses and cut flowers (not 8.5%) between November and May – which includes the crucial Valentine’s Day period when some flower farms can earn half their revenue.

This caps what has been a tough year for Kenya’s  exports of tourism, tea and coffee which have all been adversely affected, and now this.  The recently released Economic Survey 2014 showed total exports declined by 3% from Kshs 518 billion in 2012 to Kshs 502 billion in 2013 (as per the Devolution Cabinet Secretary).

Kenya will  qualify for the preferential (GSP) tariffs, while Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania are currently considered under “least developed countries” and most of their exports to the EU will qualify for a unilateral 0% tariff.


YALI 2014

The Young African Leaders Initiative 2014 – #YALI2014 kicked off this week in Washington DC. Speaking at a meeting with 500 of the first class of YALI fellows, President Obama said that it will be renamed the Mandela Washington Fellowship (& doubled to have 1,000 fellows by 2016) and that four regional leadership centers would set up in Africa.

The regional leadership centers will be established in Senegal, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya and will offer courses on leadership, support for entrepreneurs through mentoring and access to capital and a networking forum. 

The Center in Kenya will have a robust training curriculum with direction from a partnership that brings together Deloitte’s global management and strategy skills, the established curriculum and capacity of Kenyatta University, the public administration training of the Kenya School of Government, and Africa Nazarene University’s youth engagement and outreach.

USAID is investing $38 million in the new YALI centers with support from the MasterCard Foundation ($10 million), Microsoft ($12.5 million), Intel ($5million) and Dow Chemical ($4 million). Others are McKinsey, IBM, General Electric, Procter​ & ​​G​amble and the Mara Foundation. (More at the YALI site). 

In a Q&A session, Obama also spoke about AGOA and the on-going  for renewal of the trade partnership between the US & Africa; He said, they have learnt lessons from the previous phase of the partnership and will work to lower other export barriers (such as transport & trade finance), and, starting with Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, take steps to see how AGOA can work with effective trading bloc for intra-Africa trade.​​

The YALI Summit events will lead up to the first US-Africa Leaders Summit, which, with over 50 presidents & prime ministers expected, is the largest gathering of African Leaders ever hosted by a US president.

Kenya’s President Kenyatta is to participate in two events next week – a doing business in East Africa session and a presidential dinner, both organized by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) who have events for several other African leaders and nations like Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana Liberia Congo  Mozambique and Tanzania among others.

AGOA Week in Kenya II

Went for a mini-tour of the exhibits outside the on-going AGOA conference with a focus on other African countries like Zambia, Senegal, Mali, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Zambia. Most of the products were agricultural or textile in nature.

Kenyan companies were there too with big tents, lots of state agencies, but the curios were Masai market upgrades. There were also some plastics and media companies. At the Color Creations stand, had a nice chat with CEO Eva Muraya (its always nice to when the boss rolls up his/her sleeves, runs the stand, and meets prospective customers)

AGOA week in Kenya

The 8th AGOA forum is to be held this week in Nairobi.

Ugandan insomniac posted some charts on AGOA’s impact in East Africa and the outlook is bleak. CNBC’s East Africa show over the weekend reported that of the 6,400 products that are eligible under AGOA, Kenya exports just 20. The conference comes just a few weeks after Delta Airlines maiden flight to Nairobi was canceled at the last minute and even Businessman Chris Kirubi was on KTN a few days ago lamenting the obsession with a faraway US market, instead of building regional trade links trade within Africa especially to South Africa.

So there will be a high powered delegation in Nairobi this week, led by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, with 300 business leaders in tow. We wait and see what impact they will have and I hope Hilary Clinton gets to see Kenya, unlike when her predecessor when Condi Rice came to Kenya last year, and never ventured outside her security/US Embassy cocoon. The 300 business people should mix and mingle with some local SME and business leaders outside the conference.

Here are the official Kenya and US sites for the AGOA forum

other non-related AGOA opportunities include

One Africa Award: The OneAfrica Award celebrates individual or organizations s that are succeeding in helping African countries achieve millennium development goals. Closing deadline is August 21, and the prize is $100,000

Maker Faire Africa conference is about to kick off in Ghana where the GO Ingenuity Award will also be launched.

UN Photo: There is s a UN photo contest for Africa.


What does German car-maker BMW have to do with AGOA, a poverty reduction program meant to help struggling African countries? BMW uses the label “Made in Africa” for cars it makes in South Africa and ships them to the US, enjoying tax-free AGOA benefits.