Currently, Kenya and the US are pursuing a new trade deal that would replace the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act which will expire in 2025.
Kenya is the first country in Africa to bargain such a deal with America and the model will be used for similar deals between the US and rest of Africa.
The importance of this deal to Kenya and the US cannot be overstated. Choosing Kenya to be the launchpad for the new initiative shows just how valuable a partner the country is to the US.
However, not withstanding the significance of the deal being crafted, Kenya must resist any attempts by the US to make it engage in what goes against our laws and even interests.
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- 4 Bid to force use of plastics opposed
According to New York Times, US businessmen are lobbying their government to push Kenya into amending its laws so as to allow importation of single-use plastic from the US.
That, if indeed it is the case, is reprehensible. And the US must be told as much. Plastics are an anathema and a nuisance around the world. They have caused enormous damage to our environment. Kenya made a decision to end the menace, bit the bullet and closed its plastic factories, rendering hundreds jobless and denying the government much-needed revenue.
That decision must not be reversed to quench the thirst for profits by US entrepreneurs. If allowing US to export plastics to Kenya will be a prerequisite for the new trade deal, then deal will not be worth the paper it will be written on.
If Kenya bows to pressure and allows in the plastics, it will have betrayed not only Kenyans but also the rest of Africa as its deal will shape the kind deals other countries would get.
We must resist attempts to turn the country into a dumping ground not only for plastic but also for second hand clothes which Trump’s government insist we must continue importing. While the clothes have for years covered our decency, we must start to phase them out if the government’s plan to revive textile industries is to be realised.
Second-hand apparels from American or anywhere else in the world should not stand in the way of revival of textile industries. We must choose between the ignominy of forever wearing second-hand clothes and the economic benefits that come with revving up our industries.
As Trump fights to make America great again, he must allow Kenya to become great for once. That cannot happen if his government insists on dumping plastic and second hand clothes in Kenya.