Kenyan and US firms in the agriculture sector have unveiled a $12.8 million (Sh1.9 billion) in new co-investments to boost trade and investment in Kenya's burgeoning agriculture sector.

The deal was signed by leading US investors and top Kenyan government officials during a landmark event held during the US-Kenya Business Roadshow at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The key event was hosted jointly by the US government's Prosper Africa Initiative and the US Embassy in Kenya and follows pledges made during the US-Africa Leaders Summit.

The 13 new co-investments unveiled by Prosper Africa Coordinator British A Robinson are projected to rake in about $34 million in Kenyan exports to grow both economies and create jobs.

According to Robinson, the African continent has immense investment potential and an expansive ready market that businesses and investors in the US can tap into and prosper.

“The African continent presents an almost limitless opportunity for business and investors looking for attractive markets to do well and do good,” said Robinson.

He added: “When you partner with Prosper Africa, you join the pursuit for strong returns that can also drive positive global change and take your enterprise to scale.”

Kenya's agriculture sector, her economic cornerstone, has continued to attract growing attention from US investors as President William Ruto seeks to subsidize food production.

In 2022, Kenya's food and agricultural exports to the US grew by nearly 19 per cent to reach $190 million and US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman noted that it is a significant sector.

“Kenya’s agri-exports generated $1.03 billion in revenue in 2022. This sector plays a pivotal role in Kenya’s economy and provides livelihoods for 75 per cent of its workforce,” said Whitman.

The new co-investments seek to foster collaboration between Kenyan agri-businesses and American buyers enhancing access to high-quality Kenyan agri-products by the US market.

Here is a breakdown of the key co-investments:

• Kenya Private Sector Alliance will drive Kenya towards a circular economy, focusing on plastic packaging sector collaboration.

• Delish & Nutri will ensure the production of aflatoxin-safe groundnuts through their Nairobi-based factory.

• Semiconductor Technologies will expand its operations in Kenya, investing in local engineering talent and tools.

• Victory Farms will increase tilapia production, utilizing underutilized smallholder land and providing employment opportunities.

• T3 EPZ will establish plastic recycling aggregation hubs across Kenya.

• Bio Foods Products will raise awareness of aflatoxin-related health effects and help dairy farmers mitigate aflatoxin levels in their milk.

• Watamu Marine Association Community Initiative will boost plastics collection and recycling efforts.

• Kentaste Products will enhance operations to increase export supply, focusing on the U.S. market.

• Vert will expand dried mango and pulp processing capacity and create jobs for women and youth.

These co-investments follow the $55 million in apparel-focused deals announced during the inaugural US-Kenya Business Roadshow held in New York City in April 2023.

Through the new lucrative deals, US is seeking to strengthen its economic partnership with Kenya with the Chicago event being one stop on the US-Kenya Roadshow tour.

The roadshow coincides with President Ruto’s trip to the US and aims to prop Kenya as an attractive investment destination and avail key investment opportunities to US investors.

The roadshow started in New York on April 25, 2023, will continue in San Francisco on September 15 and will focus on the technology sector with each stop entailing panel discussions, business matchmaking, and networking to foster robust economic partnerships.