Masisi Calls For Deepening Of US-Africa Trade Relations

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed hope that the just ended 15th US-Africa Business Summit held in Botswana will come up with resolutions that will lead to a deepening of US-Africa trade relations.

The summit was held under the theme “Enhancing Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains” with the aim to explore new and evolving opportunities to build a stronger U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship, and assist Africa achieve her objective of becoming more competitive and an integral part of the global economy.

It has brought together more than 1,000 US and African private sector executives, international investors, senior government officials and multilateral stakeholders.  The summit present participants with a rare opportunity to connect with high-level African government delegations including Heads of State and Government, senior U.S. government officials, CEOs and senior executives of the U.S. and African companies.

Officially opening the summit this week, Masisi said since the inaugural one in 1997, the US-Africa Business Summit has grown to become the premier and most influential platform in doing business and investing in Africa.

He said the summits grant African States an immense and consistent opportunity, to renew their commitment as government leaders, influential private sector captains, and all other stakeholders, to build stronger U.S. and Africa trade, investment and commercial ties. “This is particularly so in the wake of the unprecedented health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he stated.

The president stressed that the summit, remains a key pillar on Africa’s engagement on hosting African Heads of State, U.S. and African government officials, top CEO’s, and senior business executives spanning major sectors that are critical to the continent’s development, including infrastructure, ICT, health, energy, mining, and creative industries.

Masisi noted that the theme is a profound recognition that there are fundamental gaps between the global South and the North in terms of Africa’s stake in value chains and integration. Consequently, he said the summit is a step forward as African States forge together toward creating a strong, balanced, transparent, and inclusive trading system that benefits all nations. “It is particularly pertinent to the sub-Saharan countries who are faced with enormous challenges relating to industrialisation, job creation, economic diversification, skills gaps, narrow export commodities and low export capacities.”

Masisi highlighted the importance of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in helping companies identify new business opportunities, forge partnerships, make strategic decisions and stay current on policy developments. “I am informed that 20% of CCA’s membership is headquartered in Africa. It is my earnest hope that through this regular Summit, we will be both challenged and encouraged to grow this percentage to 50% in the next decade.”  

The president added, “It is also our earnest hope that in consonance with the letter and spirit of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, the Biden Administration will renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative, which expires in 2025. The AGOA renewal now, with expanded mandates, will give a strong signal and confidence to the markets and serve as a catalyst for Africa’s industrialisation and inclusion into the global value chains.” 

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