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Kenya becomes Africa's largest exporter of clothes to U.S.

Kenya manufactures high-end clothing brands such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and others which are then exported to the U.S. market

President William Ruto during a tour of Hela Apparel factory in Athi River, Machakos County on April 23, 2024

Kenya has secured its spot as the largest garment exporter to the United States in Africa.

This achievement is the fruit of a robust partnership between Kenya and the United States, marked by significant investments and shared economic prosperity initiatives.

A recent launch of Nexgen Packaging Kenya EPZ Limited in Athi River, Machakos County, epitomized this partnership.


The launch of the new $2 million (Sh270 million) state-of-the-art apparel brand identification and packaging factory, supported by a generous $750,000 (Sh100 million) grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), signals a significant boost to Kenya's textile sector.

The factory is not just a site of production but a sign of job creation and economic opportunity, poised to enhance Kenya's apparel exports to the U.S.

President William Ruto, alongside U.S. Ambassador Meg Whitman and other distinguished guests, attended the launch, showing the mutual commitment to advancing Kenya's textile industry.


At this event, President Ruto celebrated the catalytic impact of such U.S. investments, stating, "These investments by American companies create quality jobs for Kenyans and economic opportunities for both of our countries."

He further emphasized, "Kenya is now the biggest garment exporter to the U.S. in Africa, and our Africa Growth and Opportunities Act apparel strategy has stimulated a 12-fold increase in the value of exports in the last two decades."

U.S. Ambassador Meg Whitman highlighted the symbiotic nature of this relationship: “USAID’s investments are ensuring Kenyan prosperity through American partnership.”

USAID’s investments alone have resulted in $67 million in direct investments and the creation of 20,000 new jobs within Kenya.


Kenya's dominance in the textile market isn't just about external support but also its intrinsic strengths.

The country boasts a dynamic economic environment characterized by a skilled, tech-savvy, and innovative workforce.

With a yearly investment of $5 billion in its education sector, Kenya nurtures a pool of capable individuals ready to excel in a globally competitive environment.


Moreover, Kenya's strategic geographic location and well-developed transport infrastructure make it an ideal gateway for the Eastern and Central African markets, further enhancing its attractiveness as an investment destination.

The future looks promising with plans underway to expand local cotton production from 8,000 acres to 200,000 acres in the coming years.

Such initiatives are set to bolster the supply chain for the textile sector, ensuring sustainability and growth.


As Kenya continues to develop and optimize its textile and apparel sector, the nation stands as a testament to the power of strategic international partnerships and local ingenuity.

The synergy between Kenya’s initiatives and U.S. support creates a compelling narrative of growth and success, making Kenya not just a participant but a leader in the global textile industry.



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