The Africa e-Journal

President’s Message - May/June/July 2023 eJournal

The months leading up to CCA’s signature annual event – the U.S.-Africa Business Summit held this year on July 11-14 in Gaborone, Botswana –provided several key opportunities to hear from public and private sector leaders on the significant and growing economic and business opportunities in Africa. I was privileged to participate in the Bloomberg New Economy Africa Forum in Morocco and the Afreximbank Annual Members Meeting in Ghana where experts discussed the investment and business climate and opportunities across the continent in critical sectors. I was happy to make the case that implementation of the AfCFTA and negotiation of new protocols on digital trade and women and youth, among others, would mean that American as well as African companies looking to grow their businesses in Africa would have the right framework of harmonized policies and regulations that would facilitate those ventures.

This all underscored CCA’s commitment to hold a successful U.S.-Africa Business Summit – one that built on the momentum of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum hosted by the United States last December. Seven months out from the Leaders Summit, we wanted to once again bring together U.S. and African government and private sector leaders to continue the dialogue and the actions needed to further enhance the U.S.-Africa relationship – particularly on trade, investment, and business. The Summit, co-hosted with the Government of Botswana, featured official and private sector delegations from 24 African nations and the United States, including Presidents, Prime Ministers, Vice Presidents, Cabinet Ministers, and other heads of agencies, in addition to U.S. and African CEOs and senior business executives. More than 1,500 public and private sector leaders from across the United States and Africa participated in our Summit to discuss the range of policies and strategies to “Enhance Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains” (our Summit theme) while deepening the economic partnership between the United States and Africa.

H.E. Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, in the opening ceremony noted that the “Summit is a step forward as we forge together towards creating a strong, balanced, transparent, and inclusive trading system that benefits all nations.” Building on this, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President & Chairman of the Board, African Export-Import Bank, emphasized the priority of rapidly advancing U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationships, noting that “Africa today presents itself as a business proposition – and the business case is unassailable.” The Honorable Scott Nathan, CEO of the U.S. Development Finance Corporation who headed a high-level U.S. delegation to the Summit, was equally compelling in his opening remarks – noting that “The United States is focused on what we will do with African nations and people, not for African nations and people.” Beyond these powerful words, DFC CEO Nathan and later Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, shared concrete actions that have been taken since the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. They marked significant progress in delivering on the now $17 billion in commitments made by business and government leaders at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, as well as the additional $8 billion in private sector commitments and $1 billion in U.S. Government commitments made in conjunction with Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia in March 2023.

For example, since December, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has authorized approximately $1.6 billion of transactions supporting exports to Africa, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has funded eight feasibility studies to advance the implementation of over $1 billion in digital connectivity, clean energy, and healthcare infrastructure projects on the continent, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has committed nearly $110 million in financing to projects across the continent.

This significant and impactful news regarding the U.S. government and private sector delivering on commitments made at the Leaders Summit was well received by the CCA Summit participants. We also welcomed the announcement of British Robinson as the new Prosper Africa Coordinator. Prosper Africa – launched in Africa at CCA’s 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, Mozambique – is now poised under Ms. Robinson’s leadership to revitalize and enhance this whole-of-government initiative bringing 17 U.S. government agencies with programs in Africa together to work collaboratively with African governments and the U.S. and African private sectors.

I was also really pleased that the CCA Summit in Botswana organized some 34 plenary and panel sessions that covered many important issues including, among others: trade/AGOA; opportunities for U.S. institutional investors; the business of sports on the continent; creative economy financing; aviation; energy transition; women’s leadership, ICT and digital services; agribusiness, manufacturing; combatting illicit trafficking; and health (strengthening health systems, innovative health financing, and detecting and treating cancer and NCDs). Though we had occasional shortage of space at some of our Summit sessions due to the high interest, there was no shortage of relevant topics for the Summit’s participants.

Please click the May/June/July 2023 eJournal below to view the recaps and videos of the Summit sessions.

I and all the CCA Board and staff members are grateful to all those who participated and supported the Summit, and look forward to continued work with you as we plan for upcoming and anticipated Africa-focused events in the remainder of this year. On the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), CCA is planning a number of events including one on critical minerals and energy transition, and another on digital solutions to improved healthcare in Africa.

Looking forward, many of us who have worked on U.S.-Africa trade for many years are focused on renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). CCA is part of the AGOA Renewal and Enhancement Alliance (AREA) and we’ve been meeting with members of Congress and their staff on key Committees with jurisdiction over AGOA, and encouraging potential “champions” to introduce legislation renewing AGOA early (in 2023) for 10 years (i.e., through 2035). Introduction (and for those of us who are optimists possible passage) of AGOA renewal legislation prior to the AGOA Forum to be held in South Africa this November would be a major win for the U.S.-Africa economic relationship since AGOA is its cornerstone.

Last, but certainly not least, CCA and our members and other stakeholders – including many who attended the recent Summit in Botswana – are looking forward to learning about President Biden’s trip to the continent – a major announcement and commitment made during the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. This trip, which President Biden has said would take place by the end of the year, will signal at the very highest level and in the strongest possible way that Africa is a strategic partner of the United States, and that enhancing the U.S. – Africa relationship – including its trade, investment, and commercial partnership – is a priority for the U.S. government as well as American companies.

As CCA continues to celebrate our 30th anniversary this year as the leading business association focused solely on U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and commercial engagement, we look forward to working and collaborating with you on the many economic and business opportunities that remain to be realized for the African and American people.


Florizelle Liser
President & CEO
Corporate Council on Africa

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