In a momentous event on Tuesday, President William Ruto and US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman inaugurated Nexgen Packaging Kenya EPZ Limited, marking a significant milestone in Kenya's industrial landscape.

The ceremony, held at Athi River, also included a tour of the Hela Intimates EPZ within the same facility.

Addressing the gathering, President Ruto highlighted the substantial investment Nexgen has made in Kenya, stating, "Let me say that within a very short time. Nexgen has invested $2 million in this facility. The Nexgen is at 19th operation globally and signals the catalytic role of the episode program in driving Kenya's emergence as an attractive investment destination."

He emphasized the burgeoning textile and apparel sector, noting that Nexgen's investment aligns with Kenya's trajectory as a preferred investment hub.

"It is not worthy that the textile and apparel sector. Nexgen, packaging EPZ chosen area of investment is now the dominant component of our EPZs with presently hosts 39 apparel companies with a total capital investment of Sh25 billion," Ruto stated. 

"Further, in the ranks of Kenyan exporters of various finished products to the United States Textile and apparel sector companies our EPZ, make up 29 out of 51 companies, employing nearly 60,000 people."

Furthermore, he underscored the sector's contribution to Kenya's export prowess, particularly to the United States.

"Apparel companies, operating in our EPZs, are re-exporting to the U. S and employing nearly 60,000 people. They have enabled Kenya to export over $7 billion worth of in-garments to the U.S. duty-free," he added.

Ambassador Meg Whitman commended the dynamism of Kenya's textile industry, describing it as "large, fast-growing, and very exciting."

"The Kenyan apparel business and textile sector is large, fast-growing and a very exciting sector, I think among the most exciting sectors in all of Kenya, and this Gathering represents a robust opportunity for the industry," Whitman said.

"An industry with skills and trained workers, high quality, manufacturing and strong relationships with global buyers and global markets."

She noted the presence of global buyers and manufacturers, including renowned names like Walmart and PVH, who are either already sourcing from Kenya or exploring new partnerships.

"And today we have over 23 firms representing all steps of Kenya's apparel supply chain. These companies power the sector in cut and sew, packaging, labelling and other essential materials," the ambassador stated.

"The goal; complete vertical integration across Kenya's apparel, and textile industry So please take time after this event to visit the 13 exhibits next door and see the best-in-class products that they make right here in Kenya."

Ambassador Whitman underscored Kenya's textile sector as a beacon of innovation, exports, and employment.

She encouraged attendees to explore the exhibits showcasing Kenya's prowess in apparel manufacturing.

Rebecca Miano, expressing pride in EPZ Limited's progress since its inception in 2022, highlighted the company's role in producing tags and labels for prestigious brands like Mango and J Crew.

Jim Welch, CEO of Nexgen, lauded Kenya's conducive business environment, praising the seamless process of establishing operations in the country.

"Our experience here in Kenya has been nothing short of phenomenal... So, for everybody here who's thinking about Kenya and Nairobi specifically and in the industrial park here, I can assure you that the process of being up and running, having the support of the government, employees in place that are so skilled, and so happy to be working, I can't encourage it enough," he remarked.

The ceremony also saw the announcement of further investments by the United States through USAID, aimed at fostering job creation, enhancing trade, and strengthening Kenya's textile and apparel sector.

"I am delighted to announce that the United States through USAID is partnering with Kenya to create jobs, increase trade and strengthen our entire textile and apparent sector, and we are truly grateful to USAID with additional support from Prosper Africa," Ruto announced.

"USAID has therefore invested another $11 million in grants."

With burgeoning investments and strategic partnerships, Kenya's textile industry is poised for unprecedented growth, promising significant economic dividends and employment opportunities soon

The event not only signifies Nexgen Packaging's entry into the Kenyan market but also underscores the collaborative efforts to propel Kenya towards becoming a key player in the global textile and apparel arena.