This week, our continuing series is on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA.) Tonight, in a separate feature on an AGOA success story – a small business in Kenya called the Kenana Knitters. The group’s director in charge of marketing is Sarah Johnstone. She told VOA English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard the organization is successful in sending 90% of its products to export markets all over the world, thereby increasing its exposure, especially over the last two years.
Johnstone says the reason for success is that “I think we’re riding on a really popular trend…with fair trade ratification in Europe…. People are becoming more discerning about what they buy…so I think for us, we’re riding the crest of that fair trade wave at the moment.”
She says, “We set aside a very large proportion of our profit every year towards welfare, including free clinics, family planning, free library and free worming programs….” She says as a result, she feels the working members “do their best for us.” J
ohnstone says, “AGOA means our customers can bring our goods into America duty free, and that is a huge incentive” because, she says, “Africa has a really poor reputation when it comes to reliability, and so any incentive we can give to our customers in the States is a great bonus” in dispelling that reputation.
She says future plans hinge on expansion, provided more space can be obtained and the need for continuing leadership can be satisfied. Johnstone says at the moment, “grass roots training” in presentation, marketing, advertising and selling is needed in order for the organization to grow. And with growth in mind, she says, “The future of Kanana knitters are the group members themselves.”
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