Kenya-US STIP negotiations: Ruto’s upcoming US visit sets the stage for key bilateral trade agreements.

  • 21 Apr 2024
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Anne Ndungu


In the first two weeks of April 2024, Kenya held another negotiation round on the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) Constance Hamilton and Principal Secretary for Trade Alfred K’Ombudo led both delegations in the meeting, which took place in Nairobi. This marks the fourth in-person round of talks. 

The STIP is a bilateral agreement between the two nations that is unlike traditional Free Trade Area Agreements. The STIP focuses on enhancing the whole business ecosystem while addressing factors that could hamper investment and business growth.  The table below shows the areas that have come under discussion during the rounds of negotiations that have been held so far. 


Areas of Negotiations to date

Negotiating Round 
1 2 3 4 5
Areas  July 14, 2022 February 6-10, 202

Washington DC

April 17-20, 2023

Nairobi,  Kenya

October 4-7, 2023

Washington DC

January 29-31, 2024

Nairobi,  Kenya

April 2-12, 2024

Nairobi,  Kenya

May 2024
  1. Agriculture 

Goal: increasing investment; promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth; benefiting workers, consumers, and businesses; and supporting African regional economic integration. 

Conceptual Discussions Proposed text  Proposed text Proposed text  Proposed text  Visit to the US by the Kenyan president
  1. Anticorruption 
Proposed text Proposed text Textual issues  Textual issues 
  1. Digital Trade
  1. Environment and Climate Change Action
Proposed text 
  1. Good Regulatory Practices
Proposed text
Services Domestic Regulation will be negotiated under Good Regulatory Practices Proposed text Proposed text Textual issues 
6. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Proposed texts  Textual issues  Textual issues
7. Promoting Workers’ Rights and Protections Proposed text Proposed text 
8. Supporting Participation of Women, Youth, and Others in Trade
9. Standards Collaboration
10. Trade Facilitation and Customs Procedures
Trade Inclusivity  Conceptual discussion  Conceptual discussion


The table above illustrates that areas like Agriculture are quite wide and will require a significant amount of time to conclude negotiations. They are also sensitive, as evidenced by the recent protests from poultry farmers in Kenya, organised under the Poultry Breeders Association of Kenya (PBAK). The farmers expressed concerns about the possibility of opening up Kenyan trade boundaries to finished poultry products from the US. This concern arises from the lack of public scrutiny of the texts, as they are protected by a confidentiality clause. Without access to the content, it is challenging to verify the claims made. Poultry farmers have, therefore, called for transparency and public participation before the agreement can be signed. 


This latest round of discussions comes just before President Ruto goes on a state visit to the US in May and also before the US elections later on in the year. The latter will have an impact on negotiations should a new president be elected. The President should leverage this visit to cement relations with career public civil servants who will be in office should the presidency change hands and ensure that the negotiations continue without interruption