Posted at 4:42 PM
This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended numerous events in New York City surrounding the United Nations General Assembly and the U.S. Africa Business Forum. She highlighted the importance of the United States government engaging and partnering with the private sector to increase trade and investment with Africa and to address the global refugee crisis.
Secretary Pritzker chaired a roundtable with East African leaders focused on regional cooperation in tourism, agribusiness, and infrastructure investment.
The leaders agreed to launch an annual U.S.-East Africa Travel and Tourism Dialogue to promote East Africa as a top global destination and support the growth of new partnership opportunities for U.S. and East African companies in this sector. The Commerce Department, IBM and the Global Cold Chain Alliance are exploring the development of a scalable digital marketplace pilot to be made accessible via smart and feature phones, which instantly connects farmers and buyers to transporters with cold chain capabilities. During the roundtable, the East African leaders agreed to launch the pilot in Kenya and scale it across the other East African countries. East African leaders and Secretary Pritzker also agreed on the importance of convening ministers and technical experts to develop more feasible infrastructure projects.
In conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary Pritzker hosted the President’s Call to Action Refugee Roundtable.
Featuring the leaders of private companies that have contributed significant resources toward refugee assistance, the roundtable discussed refugee education, employment, and enablement and focused on further efforts for both the public and private sectors to assist with the international refugee crisis.
On Wednesday, Secretary Pritzker’s co-hosted the 2016 U.S. Africa Business Forum with Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The event convened heads of state from across the African continent, as well as CEOs of U.S. and African companies to build on the success of the previous forum in 2014. U.S. government agencies and private sector companies signed more than $9 billion in deals at the Forum that will encourage investment in African economies and support increased trade between the U.S. and Africa. Secretary Pritzker reiterated that Africa’s long-term growth prospects are strong and that the private sector is an essential partner in growing the U.S.-African economic partnership.
Secretary Pritzker led a panel entitled "High Tech Growth: How Innovation and Technology are Driving African Economic Growth."
The three panelists focused on technological innovation across Africa. The panel also highlighted the strength of African entrepreneurship, especially amongst the continent’s youth, in driving African economic growth.
Secretary Pritzker led a roundtable discussion on improving business climate in Tunisia.
Secretary Pritzker congratulated President Essebsi on the passage of the new Investment Code legislation. This new legislation underscores Tunisia’s commitment to economic reform and signals to investors that Tunisia is a premier destination for investment. Secretary Pritzker encouraged discussion on additional steps that can be taken to increase investment in Tunisia, noting that further economic progress will support the political progress Tunisia has made during its transition to democracy.