Statistics on US-Africa Trade for 2017 shows that total U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa rose 16.8 percent, from $33 billion in 2016, to $38.5 billion last year.
U.S. exports to Africa increased by four per cent to 13.1 billion, while African exports to the United States rose by more than 24 per cent to more than 24 billion. “Increased oil exports did account for a large share of this increase, but we also saw some encouraging signs of diversification,” said Harry Sullivan, Acting Director for Economic and Regional Affairs of the Bureau of African Affairs,
Also, African exports of agricultural products to the United States rose by 10 percent to 2.7 billion in 2017, he added.
Ghana’s exports to the U.S, for instance, more than doubled to about $300 million between 2016 and 2917, reflecting a general growth of African exports to the states under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).
African non-oil exports to the US under AGOA grew from 1.3 billion in 2001, the year that the legislation was passed, to 4.2 billion in 2016, with the trend continuing to be positive since then.
“We also saw another encouraging trend, which was that additional countries are taking more advantage of AGOA, so between 2016 and 2017, Ghana saw its exports to the United States more than double, with exports under AGOA quadrupling to more than $300 million,” he added when addressing a press conference via telephone from Washington on AGOA and the US government’s Economic Policy for Africa.
“Everybody knows, you provide a huge portion of cocoa to the world, so if you could do some first-class processing in Ghana, that would add value to your economy,” he noted, adding that Shea butter is also present in northern Africa and urged the country to look at those kinds of agricultural products as well as light industry. He further noted that Ghana was a success story in Africa and could build on those attributes by moving from a market entrepreneurship to larger scale industries. “…And that can happen perhaps through cooperatives,” he advised.