Author: Office of the Press Secretary
Affiliated organization: The White House President Obama
Type of publication: Press Release
Date of publication: September 21st, 2016
Africa’s immense economic potential, increasing integration into global markets, expanding infrastructure, and demographic boom provide a remarkable opportunity to enhance U.S. trade and investment ties across the continent. African countries are tackling economic challenges by diversifying their economies, streamlining regional and global economic cooperation, and innovating to overcome barriers to trade and investment. The United States is committed to being a partner in these efforts, including through initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, Power Africa, and Trade Africa. Taking into account these and other efforts, at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF) co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and Bloomberg Philanthropies, $33 billion in commitments, including $14 billion in private sector deals and commitments, were made to support economic growth across Africa. Over the last two years, Commerce has tracked nearly $15 billion in additional private sector deals reached between U.S. and African partners, and from 2008 to 2015 U.S. direct investment in Africa rose from $37 billion to $64 billion on a historic-cost basis – an increase of more than 70 percent. That’s more than double the total global official development assistance that went to Africa in 2015. Today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum builds upon the partnerships created in 2014 with new commitments to mobilize an additional $9.1 billion in trade and investment to support the development of Africa’s consumer goods, construction, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation sectors.
The U.S. Government has Expanded its Presence and Economic Engagement in Africa
Since 2008, Commerce has doubled its presence on the continent, opening new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, expanding its presence in Ghana, and re-establishing a presence at the African Development Bank. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has opened an office in Nigeria and restarted work in Kenya, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) opened offices in Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has deployed more than 40 field-based transaction advisors in sub-Saharan Africa to track projects for potential Power Africa support and to provide technical support to improve the enabling environment for private sector investment in the energy sector.
from 2008 to 2015 U.S. direct investment in Africa rose from $37 billion to $64 billion on a historic-cost basis – an increase of more than 70 percent. That’s more than double the total global official development assistance that went to Africa in 2015
- OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) has tripled its portfolio in Africa since 2009, and investments in Africa now represent nearly a third of OPIC’s total portfolio. OPIC has committed more than $7 billion in financing and insurance to projects in Africa, and these commitments have mobilized more than $14 billion in additional investments into highly impactful sectors in Africa like clean energy, telecom, healthcare, education, and microfinance.
- USTDA (United States Trade and Development Agency) has more than doubled the size of its Africa portfolio in the last eight years, supporting 135 projects across 14 countries. This early-stage investment, which has the potential to mobilize more than $17 billion in private and public financing, has already helped to realize $2.5 billion in U.S. exports.
- From 2009-2016, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) authorizations doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa as compared to the previous eight-year period, and rose across all of Africa by 45 percent. In the past five years EXIM Bank has approved more than $6.3 billion in financing for U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, including a record $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2014.
- Twenty of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC’s) signed compacts are with African countries, totaling $7.9 billion and representing approximately 68 percent of MCC’s total compact portfolio. In addition, 11 of MCC’s threshold programs are with African countries, totaling more than $203 million.
- Since 2008, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) commitment to Africa has grown with entry into 8 new countries. USADF has opened African-led program offices in each country, with African country teams that manage nearly $25 million active projects
- The Department of the Treasury has committed to double resources for the domestic resource mobilization work of the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) by 2020, which will expand support for building effective revenue and expenditure systems. OTA has increasingly focused on Africa, with projects in sub-Saharan Africa making up approximately one third of its portfolio.
The Administration has Expanded Access to U.S. Government Tools that Support Our Trade and Investment with Africa
In 2012, the Administration launched the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign to help make the U.S. Government’s resources more easily available to the U.S. private sector and African public and private sector partners. At the 2014 Forum, the President announced the formation of an Advisory Council on DBIA to provide information, analysis, and recommendations on opportunities for the U.S. Government to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and in Africa by encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa.
Through Power Africa, launched in 2013, the U.S. Government and a coalition of more than 130 public and private sector partners are working to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa
The U.S. government is also working to make it easier for U.S. companies to invest and work in Africa. The Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to work with African governments to improve transportation infrastructure, modernize laws and regulations governing transportation, reduce technical barriers to trade through harmonization of standards, and improve regional connectivity. Under the Safe Skies for Africa program, DOT has completed more than 100 training courses and workshops to facilitate African aviation professional’s exposure and adherence to international aviation standards. And today, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $100 million in credit guarantees available to establish or upgrade facilities or infrastructure in Africa and elsewhere, enhancing countries’ ability to import U.S. agricultural commodities.
Through Power Africa, launched in 2013, the U.S. Government and a coalition of more than 130 public and private sector partners are working to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. At the 2014 USABF, the President pledged new funding to expand Power Africa’s reach to all of sub-Saharan Africa, and announced a new aggregate goal of adding 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new, cleaner electricity and increasing electricity access by at least 60 million new connections. Power Africa is providing support for projects expected to generate more than 29,000 MW, and this support has already helped transactions expected to generate more than 4,600 MW of generation reach financial close. Through the combined efforts of Power Africa’s strategic partners, including the World Bank Group, the AfDB, the European Union, and the Governments of Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada, Power Africa is on track to meet its goals by 2030. In August 2016, Power Africa announced a new partnership with the Government of Japan, through which Japan committed to bring 1,200 MW of electricity to sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2018. To date, Power Africa’s initial $7 billion commitment has mobilized more than $52 billion in additional external commitments, including more than $40 billion in private sector commitments to invest in power generation and distribution across sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has engaged nearly 300,000 young Africans through the YALI Network, an online and in-person community of entrepreneurs, activists, and public servants working together to solve shared challenges for their continent and the world
The Trade Africa initiative, launched in 2013, has helped countries boost trade within Africa and between Africa and the United States, while reducing barriers to trade across borders on the continent. Trade Africa has expanded to five additional countries, in addition to its original focus on the Partner States of the East African Community (EAC). Since 2014, USAID regional Trade and Investment Hubs in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa have facilitated more than $283 million in African exports to the United States and $140 million in U.S. investment in Africa. The East Africa Hub has supported 29,000 new African jobs, and exports facilitated by the Hub has contributed to the 36 percent increase in EAC exports to the United States between 2013 and 2015.
The United States is Supporting the Next Generation of African Leaders and Makers
The United States also recognizes the role that young people play in supporting economic growth, including through entrepreneurship. Africa’s large and growing youth population is central to achieving and maintaining Africa’s robust economic growth. That is why the United States has held two Global Entrepreneurship Summits (GES) in Africa – in Morocco in 2014 and in Kenya in 2015 – showcasing the innovation and economic opportunities of both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through the GES, the U.S. Government has mobilized more than $1 billion in capital for entrepreneurs across Africa and around the world.
Since 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has engaged nearly 300,000 young Africans through the YALI Network, an online and in-person community of entrepreneurs, activists, and public servants working together to solve shared challenges for their continent and the world. Since 2014, two thousand young people have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellows program, and thousands more have joined seminars and workshops at the four YALI Regional Leadership Centers in Accra, Dakar, Nairobi, and Pretoria.
The United States is Combatting Corruption at Home and Abroad
We have also committed to continue and expand efforts combat to corruption at home and abroad, as we recognize corruption’s pernicious effects on inclusive economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development, as well as the obstacle that it continues to represent as we seek to grow trade and investment. In 2014, President Obama announced the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF) at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, an initiative co-led by the United States and Senegal that brings together African partners and the United States to jointly tackle the challenges of corruption and other financial crimes.
We are also working together to combat corruption and to increase transparency and accountability in the region through the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Participation from African countries in OGP is growing, and OGP can play an important role in addressing common governance challenges across the continent, including by engaging civil society and building trust in government. In addition, in May 2016, President Obama announced several important steps we are taking in the United States to strengthen financial transparency, combat money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, and called upon Congress to take additional action to address these critical issues.
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