By John Oyuke
Kenyan businesses have been told to take advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum starting in Nairobi next week.
Trade Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru said the forum provides an opportunity for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and the Government to enhance visibility of locally produced goods and services.
"This is a historic opportunity to show the rest of the world we are not only the regional economic powerhouse, but also a strong nation capable of making the most of this export opportunity," Njiru said.
The Agoa meeting, from August 4-6, is taking place at a time when the global economy is slowly pulling itself out of the worst recession in years.
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A rebound in the US economy is expected to set the pace of recovery in the rest of the world.
The forum takes place at a time when Kenyan exporters are yet to take full advantage of the opportunities offered under Agoa.
For instance, while there are 6,400 products that are eligible to enter the US market under Agoa, the country currently exports less than 25 products.
Njiru asked local enterprises to seek technical support from such institutions like Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), a State Corporation in the agricultural sector to meet international standards for the export of fresh agricultural products.
He said SMEs could also seek such technical support from other institutions to "add value" by finishing or refining their products.
Njiru said the forum is also an opportunity for the country to rebrand itself to enable businesses increase volumes of their exports.
The forum, he added, is expected to be a boon to the hospitality industry, saying already a number of hotels are fully booked.
He said the wider tourism sector would also benefit as a number of Americans seek to trace the roots of President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan.
President Obama's father was born in Kogelo village in western region of the country.