US govt to strengthen trade, investment ties with Africa in driving AfCFTA
As implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) takes shape, the United States government has the desire to intensify activities that will strengthen trade and investment relations with Africa.
This was a highlight of discussions during a webinar hosted by the American Business school in collaboration with the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce, in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa as well as the American Tower Company.
The webinar focused its discussion on the US – Africa relationship with the Biden – Harris Administration where it highlighted opportunities beneficial to both countries.
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Mary Beth Leonard, US ambassador to Nigeria, stated that one of her most important roles as an Ambassador is to advocate for hugely beneficial trade and investment opportunities of which an enabling environment allows companies to expand, thereby creating jobs and growth for the economy of both Countries.
She explained that the US government plans to encourage Businesses especially SMEs, to take a closer look at sub-Saharan Africa and plans to address risk perceptions.
“The US government has planned engagement and encouragement of members of the African diaspora in the US to invest in the Continent.
In addition, the US government supports the AfCFTA with the goal of attracting investments in a less fragmented market. Since June 2019, the US government has helped close more than 280 deals across 30 nations worth over $22 billion,” Leonard said
Looking at the future, she noted that African Nations and the US Government can work together to expand economic opportunities across technology, digital and creative sectors with an eye towards ensuring that the youth are prepared for the jobs relevant in the future.
“The creative industry in Africa represents a growing business market for the likes of Netflix and also the entertainment space with an increasing influence on American audiences. AfCFTA has the potential to promote and protect the many rich and vibrant aspects of African cultures through enhanced IP protections and working through the AU in this area,” she said.
Dipo Faulkner, President, American Business school, in his remarks said although the United States has been a natural partner to Africa, the council will love to see more partnerships that will further help transform the economy of the continent.
“Doing Business in Africa, though filled with challenges, has been fruitful for the majority of the US private Sector and we want to develop ways with which we can improve the business and trade relationships between the US and Afirca”, Faulkner said.
Akunna Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs revealed that the Biden-Harris administration has plans for Africa which includes increasing two-way trade and investment between the two parties.
“We plan on working with African Governments as partners in pursuing shared interests such as Global health, Climate change and the creative industry,” Cook who is also a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service said