Africa is widely recognized as the next business frontier among the U.S. private sector. Since Kenya adopted its new constitution in 2010, a dozen CEOs of major U.S. multinational firms have visited Kenya. The U.S. private sector takes the Kenyan market seriously. However, there are challenges that cause many U.S. investors to hesitate before entering the market or expanding their current operations.
Many of these challenges were discussed on the margins of Secretary Clinton’s Global Business Conference in Washington in March 2012 and at the East African Community CEO Forum in Nairobi in April 2012. But as many business leaders already know, in order to succeed in the competitive global marketplace, U.S. companies sometimes must engage early and act as catalysts for positive change, rather than wait for governments to resolve every potential road block.
The time for partnerships is now, whether they are public-private, government-to-government, or business-to-business. The Embassy is making new U.S.-Kenyan partnerships a key priority, and we expect big results. For example, we are working hard with Kenya’s civil aviation authorities to make direct flights between Kenya and the United States a reality in the near future. Flights going east to India and China are full; the same should be true of flights going west to the United States.
We would also like to see more U.S. companies working on large infrastructure projects with local partners. By supporting Kenya in meeting international standards, we can build strong U.S.-Kenya trade and investment linkages and help Kenya realize its vision of becoming a globally competitive, middle-income country by 2030. Win-win opportunities are abundant.
U.S. companies also bring to the table key values like good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. By leveraging these values, there is much we can do to improve education, training, capacity building, and even health care to assist Kenya in realizing its full potential. We hope to see and meet you in Kenya. The Embassy staff is committed to bringing the full resources of the U.S. Mission to bear to support new and existing U.S. commercial partnerships and investments in Kenya.