US President Barack Obama, has advanced his administration’s ‘US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa’ with a new Department of Commerce-led campaign, called ‘Doing Business in Africa’ (DBIA).
The campaign was officially launched in Johannesburg by Acting Commerce Secretary, Dr Rebecca Blank, who hosted a continent-wide briefing on DBIA after having first unveiled it to South African business leaders.
In a letter published on November 26 to outline his support for the initiative, Obama said the goal was to deepen trade and investment between the US and a region that is home to six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies.
“Many American entrepreneurs and business leaders are unaware of the tremendous trade and investment prospects in sub-Saharan Africa,” Obama lamented, while promising that the campaign would seek to increase awareness of these opportunities.
Currently, US trade with sub-Saharan Africa accounted for only 2.6% of the country’s total trade with the world.
Through DBIA the Commerce Department has outlined five areas of intervention, including:
- The training of officials at Export Assistance Centers, in the US, as well as commercial service officers around the world on specific African markets and sectors, while offering ongoing information about the new opportunities arising on the continent.
- Empowering the ‘African Diaspora’ in the US with tools to trade and invest in Africa.
- Working with organisations such as the Corporate Council on Africa and the Business Council for International Understanding to launch a series of ‘Africa Global Business Summits’ in the US during 2013, at which ambassadors and commercial service officers would provide insight to business on specific African prospects.
- Partnering with the State International Development Organisation to train American economic development leaders on doing business in Africa.
- And, organising two-way trade missions and shows for African and American companies and business leaders.