African leaders at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit call for U.S. investment
BY ALAN GREEN
With an estimated 800 participants in attendance, including U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, Mozambique’s president Felipe Nyusi, and the president of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the 11th U.S.-Africa Business Summit hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa in Washington, June 13-16 focused on the theme “U.S. Stake in Africa,” in yet another attempt to promote U.S.-Africa trade and investment.
Prior to the summit proper, the Corporate Council on Africa, the largest U.S. private-sector organization dedicated to promoting trade and investment in Africa, hosted a “Congressional Dialogue on Africa” featuring House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Karen Bass.
In his keynote speech following the opening of the summit, U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross emphasized the importance of bilateral trade agreements over larger multilateral agreements. He also stressed the Trump administration’s insistence on compliance with the eligibility criteria for U.S.-Africa trade instruments such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA.
Driving home a point so often made by African leaders in similar business forums, especially here in Washington, the president of Mozambique, Felipe Nyusi, focused on the enabling business environment in Africa:
“We urge and encourage the American business people to take advantage of the enabling business environment, and investment opportunities and potential that exist in Mozambique to diversify their interventions.”
For his part, African Development Bank president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, focused on the foreign investment magnet that is the continent of Africa, urging American investors not to miss out, saying that “Africa offers you all ‘The Deal of the Century.’:
“Think of a continent where household expenditures will rise to $1.4 trillion in the next three years. Think of the continent where business to business investments will rise to $3.5 trillion in the next eight years. Think of the continent where the population by 2050 will be the same as India and China taken together today. Think of the continent that will brim with huge demand from a rising youth population that will reach 840 million by 2050, all buying and owning consumer products.”
More than 140 business leaders, including leading private-sector executives, addressed their African and American peers in the context of dozens of sessions devoted to the search of private-sector solutions—supported by the public sector—to advance business in Africa.
Florie Liser, CCA’s President and CEO, stated:
“The Summit provided one of the first opportunities and an excellent platform for African leaders, U.S. and African CEOs and other stakeholders to engage with the Trump Administration on the important issues impacting the U.S.-Africa economic relationship.”