U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered opening remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on trade and investment opportunities on the continent. In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker stated that the U.S.-Africa economic relationship is fundamental to our mutual peace and prosperity. She discussed the work that the Commerce Department is doing to advance President Obama’s vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations, including expanding the Foreign Commercial Service presence across the continent. She announced that the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will lead 10 new trade missions to Africa and 10 reverse trade missions to the United States by 2020.
She also announced the start of NIST’s Global Cities Challenge to catalyze the development of “smart cities,” as well as the launch of a new web portal for American businesses to explore opportunities in Africa. We want to make doing business in Africa easier for every business. Noting that increased trade and investment in Africa will spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic, Secretary Pritzker expressed her hope that the business and government leaders will keep the U.S.-Africa partnership open for more growth and success.
- She cited some key successes since her trade mission to Ghana and Nigeria by stating the following:
“Investing in Africa will create jobs in Charlotte, North Carolina, and expand the power supply in Ghana because of the
$175 million deal signed by SEWW Energy to upgrade Africa’s electricity grid, a direct result of our recent trade mission.”
- “Investing in Africa will support workers in California, and strengthen the health of patients in Nigeria because of the
MOU signed by Environmental Chemical Corporation to construct a state-of-the-art cancer institute in Ibadan.”
- “Investing in Africa will spur job growth in Cincinnati through Procter & Gamble’s $300 million investment in a new
manufacturing plant near Lagos; because when P&G expands in Nigeria and elsewhere, it supports thousands of jobs at
These deals and investments demonstrate that the time is right to work together as partners in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect, to raise living standards in all of our nations, and to address the challenges that impede our ability to develop closer economic bonds. Our economic and commercial partnership is two-way street. Goods and services, exports from the United States to African markets, support roughly 250,000 jobs here in the US. As Africa’s middle class continues to expand, we hope to see our export numbers grow, too.