The United States of America has reaffirmed its commitment to increase trade with Africa after it emerged that imports to the continent have fallen by 32% over the past 5 years.
This, among other issues were addressed at the just-concluded US-AFRICA Business Summit, a high profile event featuring representatives from both continents that was held in Maputo, Mozambique.
A high profile US Government delegation was led by US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Karen Dunn Kelley, and included the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Head of the US Trade and Development Agency (TDA), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Senior VP for Africa, and Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, among the more than 100 senior USG officials from 8 agencies.
They were joined by more than 1,000 attendees.
In her keynote remarks, Deputy Secretary Kelley spoke of the U.S. commitment to ensure that trade between America and Africa was mutually beneficial.
“US exports to Africa have decreased by 32% from their 2014 high. And we want to work with you to better understand how to reverse this trend,” Kelley told delegates at the conference.
She announced the outline of a new US Administration initiative dubbed ‘Prosper Africa, which was officially rolled out at the Summit.
USAID Administrator Mark Green later provided Summit delegates with more details on Prosper Africa including its goal to expand US-Africa trade, investment and commercial engagement by leveraging the resources and capabilities of many U.S. government agencies and creating deal teams supporting US private sector investments in Africa.
Throughout the Summit, delegates focused on the Summit theme, ‘Advancing A Resilient and Sustainable US-Africa Partnership’ by way of plenary sessions and panels that covered a range of sectors such as energy, health, infrastructure, consumer goods, and creative industries as well as topics including blended finance, franchising, sovereign wealth funds, and the business case for empowering women.
Taking place shortly after the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) began implementation, the Summit was an opportunity for US and African CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors attending the Summit to explore opportunities in Africa’s $2.5 trillion GDP market, which is home to1.2 billion people.
“I encourage all delegates to use the Summit as a time to help shape the flourishing trade, investment and commercial partnership between the U.S. and Africa,” commented CCA President and CEO, Florizelle Liser.
She noted that African businesses could benefit from the Summit by taking advantage of the hundreds of US companies rarely present in such large numbers at a conference focused on Africa.