• July 3rd, 2020

US unveils new initiative to grasp Africa’s huge commercial potential

Maihapa Ndjavera

WINDHOEK – The United States of America has unveiled an initiative called ‘Prosper Africa’ through which it aims to substantially increase two-way trade and investment with Africa. This ambitious initiative, which aligns with the Trump administration’s Africa strategy, was unveiled in Windhoek on Friday by US Ambassador Lisa Johnson, and counters US investment flows that have in recent years remained relatively flat compared to countries like China, India and France.

Prosper Africa was first introduced by US National Security Adviser John Bolton in December 2018, when he said it aims to promote prosperity, security, and stability in US-Africa relations. The initiative by the US confirms the Trump administration’s prioritisation of trade and investment to reach the three stated objectives and to get into the commercial game on a continent where combined consumer and business spending is expected to reach US$6.7 trillion (more than N$94 trillion) by 2030.

“This approach unlocks opportunities to do business in Africa, benefiting companies, investors and workers both in Africa and the United States,” noted Johnson, speaking at the American Cultural Centre in the heart of Windhoek’s central business district. 

Johnson confirmed that Prosper Africa, as a new initiative, emphasises the value of bringing US and African private sectors together to achieve common goals and called it a strategic investment in Africa’s future. She added that the US model of partnership, including with Namibia, “offers sustainable, empowering avenues for economic development and growth that will make both our nations stronger, our people better off, and our futures brighter”.

“American companies not only bring significant capital, innovation and proven solutions, but adhere to the highest standards of transparency, quality, and social responsibility. A greater connection between the US and African private sectors will expand markets for US goods and services and contribute to more self-reliant, prosperous and stable African countries,” Johnson continued.

She stated that trade and investment is the chosen area to support jobs in the United States and Africa and to ensure US companies can compete on a level playing field. According to Johnson, Prosper Africa will strengthen bilateral ties with African partners to grow the middle class across the continent and to support African partner states in enhancing good governance, rule of law and transparent, fair commercial practices.

Johnson further outlined that in building on the US government’s already robust presence in Africa, more than 15 US agencies are working together to modernise and synchronise US capabilities and efforts, facilitate transactions and foster fair and accessible business climates and robust financial sectors.

Despite US and Africa trading flows being mostly stagnant, the US has been present through some of the most transformative programs on the continent, including the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), supporting more than 14 million people with  antiretroviral medication, as well as the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which has provided grants to qualifying African countries to address constraints to growth, including infrastructure.

Speaking in Mozambique recently, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Karen Dunn, said: “We know the US government can and must do more to capitalise on competitive advantages of US companies and the entrepreneurial spirit of the African people, hence I am proud to roll out the administration’s new signature initiative, Prosper Africa.”

According to the administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green: “Prosper Africa is not a new program. It’s a new way of doing business. It capitalises on the reauthorization of EXIM Bank and the new Development Finance Corporation. And, it makes the full suite of US government networks and resources available and accessible to importers, exporters and investors.”

Staff Reporter
2019-07-15 10:03:58 | 11 months ago

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