Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International
Trade and David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency
this week, we attended the Doing Business in Africa Forum at the White House.
This was the first forum of the Doing Business in
Africa campaign that the Commerce Department launched three months ago in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank gave the opening remarks and focused
on strengthening commercial ties between the United States and Sub-Saharan
Africa. She emphasized that as the continent’s wealth increases, so does the
demand for improved infrastructure, energy services, and high-quality consumer
and agricultural products – all of which American companies are well positioned
to provide. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten
fastest-growing countries in the world, which helps explain why over the past
decade, U.S. trade to and from Africa has tripled, with U.S. exports now
topping $21 billion.
Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic
Engagement, welcomed the group of federal government officials, African-born
U.S. business and financial leaders, and African-American entrepreneurs,
corporate executives, fund managers and investment advisors. Mr. Strautmanis
emphasized the need for a collective approach from federal agencies to provide
expanded investment and trade financing support to help U.S businesses become
more effective global competitors, particularly in the Sub-Saharan
that message, both of us, along with representatives from government entities
including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank,
Small Business Administration, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S.
Trade and Development Agency and Millennium Challenge Corporation, described for
the assembled group how all of our services are structured under the Doing
Business in Africa campaign to help them seize opportunities in the Sub-Saharan