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Kenya Faces Numerous Obstacles to Effective Protection of the Rights of Workers

The US and Kenya announced a trade and investment partnership in July 2022. Talks have been progressing on the way forward in nine areas, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade, environment and climate change action, and workers’ rights and protections. The Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) will be the first significant trade partnership between the US and a country in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in the region currently rely on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which offers duty- and quota-free access to the US market. The new deal is seen as a model for future agreements between the US and other sub-Saharan African countries. While the US has the capacity and resources to monitor labour conditions in Kenya and to enforce relevant provisions of the STIP, neither the Kenyan government nor its private sector has the capacity to do so in the US. So, the spotlight will be on Kenya while labour rights violations in the US are likely to be swept under the carpet.