May 24, 2024


 " In Kenya, we see a country of limitless private sector potential if we’re willing to seize it—and the U.S. Chamber is working to make that happen."

— U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark during our U.S.-Kenya Business Forum. 

Economic growth and advancing U.S.-Kenya trade and investments were key themes as Kenya President William Ruto joined the U.S. Chamber on Friday—during his historic State Visit—for the U.S. Kenya Business Forum. Dignitaries included Vice President Kamala Harris, Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Senator Chris Coons. Forum sponsors included Google and Absa Group.

President Ruto, known for his firm belief in business-friendly policy-making, has championed initiatives promoting climate-smart technologies and enhancing the digital ecosystem, efforts that have fostered sustainable and innovative economic growth, lifting millions out of poverty in Kenya, and solidifying the nation's role as a model for development across Africa.    

“Kenya works, and we mean business,” President Ruto said. “When it comes to investment, we are ready for you. Let's bring your vision to reality. And let us build Kenya together with your companies.” 

The Forum featured speeches and discussions on deepening the bilateral economic relationship and the facilitation of over $2 billion in new and expanded commitments between the U.S. and Kenyan governments, businesses, and investors. 

“I strongly believe that we are at a moment where we should revisit and upgrade and update the narrative of the relationship between the United States and the continent of Africa,” Vice President Harris said. “When you think about the continent, the median age is 19 years old. It is predicted that by 2050, one in four people occupying space on Mother Earth will be on the continent of Africa. So from that perspective, many could rightly argue that the future is on the continent of Africa.” 

Significant deals signed during the Forum between the U.S. and Kenyan public and private sectors include nearly $2 billion worth of deals between Google, Marathon Digital Holdings, Acorn Holdings Limited, Siemens Healthineers, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Kenyan company M-KOPA, Semiconductors Technologies Limited, and Microsoft.

“Google is proud of our longstanding commitment to Africa's digital transformation, where we have already committed to investing $1 billion," Charles Murito, Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said. "To help increase the reach and reliability of digital connectivity for Africa, Google announced Umoja, the first-ever fiber optic route to directly connect Africa with Australia. Umoja, which is the Swahili word for unity, will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world."

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1/12Kenya President Ruto addresses the U.S.-Kenya Business Forum
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2/12Kenya President William Ruto receives an award from Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark
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3/12Kendra Gaither, president of the Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Business Center, leads a panel discussion during the U.S.-Kenya Business Forum
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4/12CEO Peng Xiao of G42, Secretary Musalia Mudavadi of Kenya, and Microsoft Vice Chair Brad Smith sign an initial investment of $1 billion for a comprehensive digital ecosystem in Kenya
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5/12Kenya President Ruto, Vice President Harris and Ambassador Whitman discuss economic opportunity in Africa.
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6/12"It is not insignificant that we are convening this Forum on May 24th, on the eve of Africa Day," said John Murphy, senior vice president and head of International
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7/12Founder and CEO of BlackIvy Group Cheryl Mills, left, and CEO of Mastercard Michael Miebach.
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8/12Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) speaks at the U.S.-Kenya Business Forum.
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9/12Charles Murito, Google's Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa, left, participates in a deal signing while Ambassador Whitman and President Ruto observe.
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10/12U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Kenyan President William Ruto at the U.S.-Kenya Business Forum.
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11/12CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation Scott Nathan, left, and CEO of Kenyan company M-KOPA Jesse Moore, right, at a deal signing.
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12/12Kenya National Security Advisor Monica Juma, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and MCC deputy CEO Chidi Blyden.

In addition, Marathon Digital Holdings Chairman and CEO Fred Thiel noted this was a "pivotal moment for our business."

“It demonstrates the innovative approach that Kenya is taking to optimize their energy usage and to enhance their technological infrastructure," Thiel continued. "We look forward to working closely with the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, President William Ruto, and other Kenyan government leaders to drive progress through innovative and sustainable energy solutions.” 

The U.S. Chamber also announced an upcoming GreenTech Business Mission to Kenya to showcase U.S. green technology and provide a platform for projects, innovative solutions, and regulatory best practices. 

“Kenya has made significant progress in lifting millions out of poverty through these developments, making significant progress toward in its sustainable development goals, and championing the role of women and youth in the economy,” said John Murphy, Chamber senior vice president and head of international. 

“It is not insignificant that we are convening this Forum on May 24, on the eve of Africa Day, as Kenya has become in many ways a model for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth across all of Africa.”   

President Ruto’s visit represents a milestone marking the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Kenya diplomatic relations, showcasing the strong and growing economic ties between the two nations.  

American companies have played a crucial role in this progress. Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, spoke at the summit and outlined his company's important work.

“Mastercard's work leading the new MADE Alliance: Africa aims to provide 100 million people greater digital access to critical services,” said Miebach. “Across Africa, people are driving new growth and opportunity, and Mastercard wants to support their success. This Alliance builds on the innovations and investments we are already making with partners in 45 countries to enhance Africa’s digital infrastructure and accelerate inclusive growth.” 

American businesses are eager to contribute more towards Kenya's future in sectors including healthcare, agriculture, clean energy, and digital technologies, and the private sector's innovation is pivotal in accelerating this progress.  

“Just last month, the U.S. Chamber led a delegation of 30 business leaders to Kenya for the AmCham East Africa Business Summit, to coincide with Secretary Raimondo’s visit to Nairobi,” added Kendra Gaither, president of the Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Business Center.

“The Chamber knows firsthand how deepened ties with Africa creates valuable opportunities of mutual benefit for U.S. and African businesses, workers, and consumers. As we honor the strategic relationship Kenya and the U.S. share, we must also ensure that AGOA—a cornerstone of U.S. economic relations with Kenya—is swiftly reauthorized to create certainty so that investors can create jobs, bolster our economies, and strengthen U.S. standing in the region. Today’s Forum is a public reaffirmation of our strategic partnership with Kenya and of the vision advanced at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum: that all U.S. businesses should take note of the rich opportunities for trade, investment, and commerce in Africa.” 

During the Forum, Clark presented President Ruto with the U.S.-Africa Business Center Outstanding Leaders Award in recognition of his work advancing business-led solutions across Kenya and his steadfast commitment to trade and investment. 

“East Africa—led by Kenya—continues to be one of the engines of growth on the continent and in the global economy,” Clark said. “Kenya is home to one of Africa’s most diversified and fastest-growing economies. And with a young, entrepreneurial population and talented workforce it is increasingly a vibrant hub of economic activity. In Kenya, we see a country of limitless private sector potential if we’re willing to seize it—and the U.S. Chamber is working to make that happen.”