US signs pact to train and hire 2,000 Kenyans in textile industry

About 2,000 Kenyan youth are set to be trained and be employed in the textile industry following the signing of a grant between the US government and a Kenyan firm.

In the deal signed on Friday between the USAid East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) and Generation Program Kenya Limited, a local subsidiary of the McKinsey Social Initiative, the programme seeks to recruit, train and employ 2,000 Kenyan youth in the apparel industry.

In a press release sent to newsrooms, USAid Kenya and East Africa Acting Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones said through the initiative to be piloted in collaboration with Ministry of Industry, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and apparel companies, seven fully equipped training centres will be put up in the country.

About 4,000 youth will be screened for participation after which 2,000 of them will be trained and employed to help address the skills gap that currently hinders growth in the sector.

“In addition, the goal of the pilot is to create a sustainable and replicable model for apparel sector skills development throughout East Africa.

“USAid is pleased to support this pilot initiative. Not only does this private sector approach directly link trained at-risk youth to jobs, the leadership from Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives makes the model sustainable,” Ms Tina Dooley-Jones.

The official noted that the signing of the grant is also the official kick-off of the Hub’s “East Africa Cotton, Textile and Apparel Workforce Development Initiative,” a collaborative effort with the private sector based on a partnership agreement with the  American Apparel and Footwear Association.

East Africa is establishing itself as a key-sourcing destination for buyers of global apparel, footwear and travel goods.

Recently renewed to 2025, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a major incentive which provides up to 35 percent in duty savings for eligible countries exporting to the U.S.

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The Hub’s new initiative will further cement partnerships between U.S. and East African business under the Act.

Launched in 2015 with funding from the USAID’s Mission in Kenya, Generation Kenya has so far successfully graduated 4,400 trainees from among disadvantaged youth, placing them in the fast moving consumer goods distribution, retail, financial services and hospitality industries. 

READ: Reprieve as US spares Kenya Agoa ejection

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