A new partnership between the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the US-based Centre of International Private Enterprise (CIPE) should help more than 2,000 small businesses export products such as leather items and textiles into the American market.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the two organisations, according to local reports.

The agreement is expected to benefit Nairobi, Mombasa and Vihiga, and is expected to take effect by December 2018. It will see the three counties improve their governance, financial resources and service to members through training, technical assistance and small grants to enable them produce quality products.

"The Nairobi chamber will capitalise on this partnership to foster its brand and enhance services to members," said the chairman of the KNCCI Nairobi Chapter, Richard Ngatia. "Already, the Nairobi chamber has signed an MoU with the Nairobi County Government to develop ways of easing doing business, with specific focus on being the voice of small businesses in Nairobi."

It is understood around 10 counties applied for the partnership support. In the next phase the number of counties accepted into the agreement will be increased.

According to the Office of United States Trade Representative website, Kenya is the 85th largest goods trading partner with the US, with a total of US$1.5bn worth of products exchanged between the two countries in 2015.