AmCham Business Summit 2024: Charting the Future of U.S.-East Africa Trade and Investment

2 mins read

The 4th edition of the AmCham Business Summit, held on April 24-25, 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together over 1,200 delegates from the region to discuss the future of U.S.-East Africa trade and investment. The summit featured brilliant keynotes from H.E. Dr. William Ruto, President of Kenya, U.S. Ambassador Meg Whitman, and top business leaders from global brands.

The Ambassador added, “I remain bullish on Kenya’s economic prospects. Over the two days, the summit delved into the critical issues and opportunities shaping the economic landscape. U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, delivered a powerful keynote exploring Kenya’s dynamic trade and investment landscape and opportunities for collaborative pathways to a prosperous future.

Delegates explored ways to strengthen cooperation and make the most of opportunities, sharing insights on changing trade and investment dynamics, market perspectives, and strategies for fostering economic collaboration between the U.S. and East Africa that benefits everyone.

AmCham Business Summit 2024: Charting the Future of U.S.-East Africa Trade and Investment

The summit marked a pivotal moment in U.S. – Kenya relations, with both countries charting a course towards enhanced cooperation across critical spheres. Key highlights include:

Negotiations underway for a U.S. – Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, as Kenya’s rising incomes mean trade preferences based on low-income status no longer apply

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo participated in the summit, reiterating President Biden’s message that the U.S. is “all-in on Africa” and announcing a first-of-its-kind partnership with Kenya to promote safe AI development and digital upskilling

Seven private-sector deals on digital transformation were made involving companies like the NBA, CISCO, Pfizer, and Qualcomm

Two new grants by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency were announced to expand semiconductor fabrication in Kenya and construct a fiber network along the railways

Key Themes and Highlights

Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership

The U.S. and Kenya are negotiating a Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, as Kenya’s rising incomes mean trade favors based on low-income status no longer apply. The U.S.-East African Business Summit in Nairobi was the latest photo-op for the new direction the relationship is taking.

Digital Transformation

Microsoft’s Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, led the opening keynote on digital transformation at the summit. AmCham provided a valuable platform for showcasing innovative solutions, engaging with industry leaders, and presenting at the DTA deal room—an arena for forging impactful partnerships in the digital space.

Pfizer launched ‘Living With’, an app aimed at providing cancer patients and their loved ones with tools and resources to help navigate the emotional, physical and practical challenges of living with cancer

Climate Action and Sustainable Finance

Climate action was a big theme, with many discussions about innovative approaches to tackle climate resilience and drive sustainable business practices with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano stating that up to 95% of the country’s electricity is renewable and that they aim to reach 100% in the next few years. The summit also highlighted how health and economic growth are connected, discussing strategies to strengthen health systems, promote innovation, and attract sustainable investments in the life sciences sector.

Harnessing the Creative Economy

The summit revealed that Kenya’s creative economy is currently contributing 5% to the country’s GDP, with leading brands such as the NBA, NFL, and Grammy Awards investing in the country. Attendees discussed the growth potential of this sector and the need to support the talented individuals driving it forward.

Partnerships and Investments

USTDA Grants and Partnerships

USTDA signed a grant agreement with pan-African technology company, CSquared, for a feasibility study to help hundreds of thousands of Africans gain access to affordable broadband through the development of an open-access cross-continental fiber optic backbone. Early-stage funding for technical feasibility from USTDA has been instrumental for Milele Energy to develop projects in Africa.

Prosper Africa Initiatives

Prosper Africa is mobilizing large-scale private capital from institutional investors and has helped close 285 private sector deals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda valued at $6.6 billion since its launch in 2019. The U.S. government has closed 169 deals in Kenya, valued at $2.2 billion. Prosper Africa’s new U.S.-Africa Trade Desk is a signature trade platform that links large U.S. food retailers to African producers and is anticipated to facilitate at least $300 million in export sales between Africa and the United States within the next 18 months..

Leave a Reply