Posted at 4:28 PM
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today hosted the first meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) to discuss initial recommendations on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa. The council, established by President Obama last year during the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, advises the President through the Secretary of Commerce, on advancing his DBIA campaign as described in the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa of June 14, 2012.
During today’s meeting, the PAC-DBIA provided guidance and drafted suggestions in an effort to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and in Africa that will encourage U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa.
“Our gathering today is part of the Administration’s effort to write the next paragraphs in what President Obama called a ‘new chapter in U.S.-Africa relations,’” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “We are building upon what was started at the historic U.S.-Africa Business Forum last August when U.S. firms announced more than $14 billion worth of investments in African markets. I look forward to working with this Council to make doing business in Africa easier for U.S. companies, and to keep America and Africa open for business together.”
The PAC-DBIA is comprised of 15 members representing small, medium, and large companies from a variety of industry sectors. The council’s initial recommendations focus on: investment and access to capital; trade and supply chain development; infrastructure; and marketing and outreach. The council touts efforts to enhance the ability of U.S. companies to compete for major projects with a dedicated U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Center; support capacity building activities for African financial regulators and exchanges through training programs, partnerships, and knowledge sharing; and to improve the perception of doing business in Africa and highlight trade opportunities through an online Doing Business in Africa toolkit and targeted outreach events.
In addition to establishing the PAC-DBIA, other commitments made during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit are progressing. To date, of the $7 billion in commitments that the U.S. government made in August, approximately $3.3 billion (47 percent) has been authorized. Also, $1.75 billion of the $7 billion is on track to be approved by the end of the fiscal year.
The United States Trade and Development Agency and the Department of Commerce have completed four trade missions and reverse trade missions. Seven additional missions are planned, including a trade and investment mission jointly led by the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Department of Commerce to Tanzania in June, and the Department of Commerce’s Trade Winds Mission and Conference starting in South Africa in September.
From 2011 to 2014, the United States closed its trade gap with sub-Saharan Africa by 97 percent. U.S. merchandise exports to sub-Saharan Africa increased 19 percent during this period, reaching $25.4 billion last year. The annual growth rate of U.S. goods exports to sub-Saharan Africa averaged nearly 6 percent, almost doubling the average annual rate of growth to the world during this same period.
For more information on PAC-DBIA, please visit www.trade.gov/pac-dbia.