The Africa e-Journal

President’s Message - November/December 2023 eJournal

The last months of 2023 – CCA’s 30th anniversary year since its founding in 1993 – provided a productive and rewarding finish to a stellar year under our anniversary theme of driving “Excellence in Building U.S.- Africa Business”.

Many know my passion for U.S.-Africa trade, honed over many years leading USG efforts to enhance trade and investment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It will not, therefore, surprise you that I was thrilled to have CCA once again host the AGOA Private Sector Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa – an official part of the AGOA Forum and Ministerial meetings on November 3-5, 2023. Though I have attended many AGOA Forums over the years, I must say that this was one of the most impressive – featuring an exhibition of products manufactured on the continent and shipped from more than 20 eligible sub-Saharan African nations for duty-free access to the U.S. market under AGOA. CCA was pleased to work with the USG (including staff of key Members of Congress and Congressional Committees), the Government of South Africa and other SSA governments, and U.S. and African companies to discuss the importance of AGOA trade as well as its renewal as soon as possible before its expiration in 2025. See the video in our eJournal that captures the essence of the AGOA Forum. I also want to share a link to the readout of the AGOA Private Sector Forum that CCA provided at the Forum which includes our key recommendations regarding AGOA and its renewal.

CCA is pleased to be a part of the AGOA Renewal and Enhancement Alliance (AREA) that is meeting with members of Congress, their staffs, the African Diplomatic Corps, think tanks, and other U.S.-Africa trade stakeholders to encourage an aggressive push (initially in 2023 and now in 2024) to get AGOA renewed and enhanced, if possible.

I am also pleased to share that CCA’s U.S.-Africa Health Security and Resilience Initiative (HSRI) is continuing to bring key U.S. and African government and private sector stakeholders together to collaborate and address gaps in African health systems, including ways to harmonize regulations to improve access to medicines and medical equipment, including from U.S. suppliers. On November 13-14, 2023, CCA – under a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) initiative and grant – held the first of five workshops on regulatory convergence for healthcare products. The first workshop focused on East and Central Africa and was held in Nairobi, Kenya. The two-day program included one day dedicated to pharmaceuticals and the second dedicated to medical devices. The event convened a select group of key stakeholders including decision makers from five African Health Regulatory Authorities, leadership from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and more than 100 pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

December was the “icing on the cake” for CCA’s 2023 year of events and initiatives. On December 1st, CCA held the 30th Anniversary & Awards Gala at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Washington, DC, which was a grand celebration of the organization’s rich history and three decades of influential contributions to U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business relationships. The event brought together executives from CCA’s more than 120 U.S. and African member companies, affiliate organizations, the African Diplomatic Corps, U.S. government dignitaries and close friends of CCA with CNN International Anchor, Zain Asher, serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

The Gala recognized four important groups represented at the event. First, past leaders – co-founders of CCA, past Presidents & CEOs, and past Chairmen of the Board and other Board members. Second, CCA’s member companies, “for whom CCA works hard every day to advance their interests.” The third group included the African diplomatic corps represented by dozens of African Ambassadors and representatives from DC-based embassies, with keynote remarks by Her Excellency, the Ambassador of Rwanda, Mathilde Mukantanbana, as Vice Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, and Her Excellency Hilda Suka-Mafudze, African Union Ambassador to the United States.

The focus of the evening was to honor past Presidents and Board leaders, including CCA Co-Founder and Past Executive Director, David Miller, and well-deserved kudos to outgoing CCA Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio, and retrospective remarks by former Chairpersons of the Board of Directors Percy Wilson and Paul Hinks, and CCA President Emeritus Steve Hayes. Additional honorees, although not present, were acknowledged, including Maurice Templesman, Frank Fountain, and Mike Dignam.

After the 30th Anniversary commemoration at the Gala, CCA hosted the Liberian President-elect Hon. Joseph Boakai for a Business Roundtable at CCA’s office on December 19. The session offered an opportunity to jump-start a relationship with the President-elect and his team of senior advisors to promote private sector business relationships. Ms. Liser provided to Boakai a letter of invitation to attend Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Dallas, Texas. “Liberia and America are together,” emphasized Pres.-elect Boakai.

As we successfully conclude CCA events and initiatives of 2023, I look forward with great anticipation to 2024 and a year of CCA initiatives and events that I believe will significantly advance the U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business relationship. In particular, I am excited about CCA hosting its 16th U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Dallas, Texas on May 6-9. 2024. Under the theme “U.S.-Africa Business: Partnering for Sustainable Success,” this Summit will be an important opportunity to bring U.S. and African public and private sector leaders to America’s heartland – a region that is experiencing remarkable growth in U.S. and international business activities and is home to a large African diaspora community living in the Dallas and Houston area.

I hope you will not only join CCA in Dallas at our U.S.-Africa Business Summit to advance the U.S.-Africa economic relationship – driven by trade, investment, and business, but will be our partners, collaborators, believers in the promise of Africa that benefits all of you – all of us. I hope you enjoy as I did the article on the top ten African trends and developments to watch in 2024 (link in eJournal).

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!


Sincerely,

Florizelle Liser
President & CEO
Corporate Council on Africa

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