If the U.S. Congress passes the African Growth and Opportunity Act this fall, Kenya would be one African nation to benefit because it could export its textiles and apparel more readily to the U.S., according to Thairu Machua, an international trader from Kenya who is living in Atlanta.
Mr. Machua, who served as a regional administrator in the Kenya government from 1966-77, came to Atlanta in the late 1980s and worked for Economic Opportunity Atlanta (EOA), a non-profit development agency. He returned to Africa in 1992 but has come back to Atlanta to start an international trading and consulting business.
A graduate of the Kenya Institute of Administration in Kabeti, Mr. Machua also has a masters degree in regional planning from Syracuse University in New York.
During an interview with GlobalFax last week, he said that there are factories in Kenya producing an overabundance of textiles and apparel that should be exported to the U.S. The trade bill before Congress includes a provision to grant tariff and quota breaks for these products made in Africa.
Should the quotas for Kenya textiles and apparel be lowered by the act, he said that he would actively seek to find buyers for these goods here.
Opponents to the bill say that Africa would merely be used as a conduit by countries, which have fulfilled their quotas to the U.S., but Mr. Machua disagreed. He said Kenya’s manufacturers would seek to export their own products first.
He currently is working as a middleman and consultant between U.S. sellers and African buyers for a wide variety of goods, including foodstuffs (especially wheat, corn, soybeans, beans and vegetable oil), computer equipment, agricultural machinery, aircraft parts, and pharmaceutical and medical products and organic fertilizers.
He said that he has extensive contacts throughout sub-Saharan Africa and would like to hear from Atlanta companies seeking to either begin trading or to expand their activities in emerging African markets.
Mr. Machua may be reached by calling (404) 696-8456.