Obama hails Kenya-born entrepreneur at Africa Summit - Daily Nation

Obama hails Kenya-born entrepreneur at Africa Summit

Wednesday August 6 2014

US President Barack Obama speaks at a meeting of the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington, DC, on August 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB

US President Barack Obama at a meeting of the US-Africa Business Forum on August 5, 2014. He has ordered US warplanes back into Iraqi skies to stop jihadists from moving into autonomous Kurdistan and carrying out a potential genocide against displaced minorities. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB 

By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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WASHINGTON, DC

President Barack Obama on Tuesday cited a Kenya-born entrepreneur as an example of how investors can benefit from trade between the United States and Africa.

Mr Obama mentioned Ms Kusum Kavia at a business forum in the ongoing US-Africa summit in Washington.

Ms Kavia, a Kenyan of Indian descent, moved to the United States in the 1980s. She and her husband, Mukund Kavia, also born in Kenya, launched a power-generation manufacturing company in California in 1989.

The Kavias' company, Combustion Associates, started exporting power generators to Benin in West Africa, Mr Obama noted.

“It was a win-win for everybody. It was a win for the company's suppliers in Texas, Ohio and New York, and a win for Benin and its people,” he said.

'POWER AFRICA' PROGRAMME

A US government agency helped Ms Kavia launch her business, Mr Obama said, suggesting that such assistance can help spur trade with Africa.

Kenya is one of six countries chosen to take part in the Obama administration programme that aims to bring electricity to 20 million Africans in the next five years.

US officials have been touting "Power Africa" at this week's summit as an example of a public-private partnership that will improve living conditions on the continent.

Also announced at Tuesday's business forum was a $250 million US investment warranty to support construction and operation of the Lake Turkana Wind Project.

The 310-megawatt wind farm, the largest in Africa, is projected to boost Kenya's electricity-generating capacity by 20 per cent and to produce power for some 2.5 million Kenyans.