U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and a delegation from the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) announced over $1 billion in private-sector deals during their mission to four sub-Saharan nations. PAC-DBIA members expect to quickly conclude more than $2 billion in additional deals in the coming days.
The four-nation visit, which included stops in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Côte D’Ivoire, concluded in Ghana where Secretary Ross signed a memorandum of understanding with the Minister of Finance to deepen the commercial partnership between the two nations. On previous stops, Under Secretary of Commerce Gilbert Kaplan signed cooperative agreements with the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.
“The United States is making real progress in Africa, and we remain a strong, long-term, and stable partner in the continent’s economic development. It’s clear U.S. companies want to grow their businesses in Africa, and these countries can facilitate that by improving their business climates, thereby enabling the growth of the digital economy, agriculture, health care, energy, manufacturing, and service sectors,” said Secretary Ross. “We are finding solutions to transition aid-based economies to trade-based economies by creating new pathways for mutually beneficial long-term partnerships.”
In Ghana, Secretary Ross led the U.S. delegation in meetings with President Nana Akufo-Addo, Minister of Trade Alan Kyerematan, Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko, and Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta. Under Secretary Kaplan led the delegation in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Côte D’Ivoire, meeting with heads of state, senior government officials, business leaders, and U.S. companies already doing business in those markets. Throughout the mission, Under Secretary Kaplan met with a number of officials including Ethiopian Minister of Finance Abraham Tekeste, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as President Alassane Ouattara and Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly of Côte d’Ivoire.
The delegation also met with officials at the African Development Bank to better understand how and where the bank is providing financing throughout the continent. This financing is a key tool for U.S. companies as they seek procurement contracts.
Cooperation agreements signed during the trip with Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana identify priority projects in key sectors that help achieve long-term growth and development. The United States will share that information with U.S. companies that can undertake those projects, as well as identify U.S. Government resources, such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export Import Bank, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and U.S. African Development Foundation, among others to support U.S. private sector participation.
The cooperation agreements also establish a forum for the governments to address and resolve business climate issues that prevent greater participation by U.S. companies seeking to invest or do business in the three countries.
Upon its return, the PAC-DBIA will use the collected information and first-hand experiences to develop reliable and actionable recommendations for President Trump to resolve issues related to underdeveloped capital markets, non-transparent and price-based procurement processes, and workforce development.
Chaired by Secretary Ross, the PAC-DBIA advises the President on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.