Why is Everyone Talking About Africa?

August 5, 2013

Claudia Easton is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of the National Export Initiative and Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. She’s studying Economics and Political Science at Amherst College.

With the President’s recent trip to Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as the announcement of two new trade initiatives, the spotlight is on Africa – and with good reason.

While speaking at the Business Leaders Forum in Tanzania, President Obama spoke of beginning a new level of economic engagement with Africa. The Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) is part of the president’s strategy, and the International Trade Administration (ITA) is proud to join other government agencies to support  DBIA initiatives that are helping U.S. businesses compete on the continent.

Trade Africa aims to facilitate expanded trade on the continent. Its initial focus will be on the East African Community (EAC), a market with increasingly stable and pro-business regulations. The plan will support increased U.S.-EAC trade and investment, EAC trade competitiveness, and regional integration. The United States seeks to expand this initiative to other regional economic communities on the continent.

Power Africa is intended to build on Africa’s enormous power potential to expand electricity access to the more than two-thirds of the population that is without power. The President pledged $7 billion in U.S. government support, in addition to $9 billion in private money, over the next five years to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa will help attract investment in Africa’s energy sector, build capacity for reform in the energy sector, and encourage transparent and responsible natural resource management.

ITA partnered with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to share information about the Power Africa initiative in a Twitter chat in July.

These initiatives will rely heavily on public-private partnerships to succeed. We’re glad to have an excellent partner in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who invited Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez and other government leaders to speak with businesses about support available under DBIA.

We’ve also highlighted stories of how a heavy machinery exporter and an environmental and energy company have seen recent success on the continent, with help from ITA.

The bottom line is this: Africa is open for business. And with the weight of the president and the administration behind these initiatives, there has never been a better time for U.S. companies of all sizes to take advantage of the enormous opportunities on the continent.

If your business is ready to make Africa a priority, your local U.S. Export Assistance Center can help connect you with federal resources and more information about specific opportunities.

For more information on Doing Business in Africa campaign, please see additional links below:

Doing Business in Africa Campaign:

Main Campaign Page

DBIA Updates on the ITA Blog

Remarks by Under Secretary of International Trade Francisco Sánchez to U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum

Power Africa:

FACT SHEET: Power Africa

Blog: Powering Africa

Remarks by President Obama at Ubungo Symbion Power Plant

#Power4All on Twitter

Trade Africa:

FACT SHEET: Trade Africa

Remarks by President Obama at Business Leaders Forum (Trade Africa)

Video of President Obama Speaking at A Business Leaders Forum in Tanzania


  1. We at Afara Global are very excited about the US taking another step in growing the US’ economic engagement with Africa. How much capital does the Administration think that the $7B commitment will unlock, beyond the $9B?

    • Thanks for your comment and question. As the administration points out, these are just first steps in facilitating growth and investment in Africa’s power sector. You should check out the White House’s fact sheet and blog post about Power Africa for more specifics.


    The African Trade Business Center (www.AfricanTBC.org) as global stakeholders to supporting the current administration along with the inter-agency efforts of the Department of the U.S. government with the “Doing Business in Africa” (DBIA) campaign, with an office in Maryland, we are committed to the creation of healthy jobs in both the USA and Africa. There is a dire need to incorporate key national & international economic development strategies to offset parameters to support the “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa ”. We propose assisting with the extraordinary opportunity for growth, trade & investment and economic development. Thereby, advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development within the region. How do we get transactional opportunities to more U.S firms or get ITA engaged?

    We support the inevitability to have constructive collaborations with the private sector in Africa to best understand how the national transformational economic goals and international perceptions may have a paradigm shift in the global market place. Similarly, we anticipate on conducting an international trade mission to Nigeria in November and a reverse trade mission from Nigeria to US in December. This shall be the perfect opportunity for the different agencies within the government to become aware of a BIG success story for sub Saharan Africa and with U.S firms involved. We support the expansion of trade promotion programs tailored toward Africa, including targeted trade missions to sub-Saharan countries and enhanced International Buyer Program (IBP) events to bring more African buyer delegations to the United States. Furthermore, we will be supportive of providing enhanced Africa-focused export counseling to U.S businesses on site for our trade missions as a result of enhanced training of federal trade specialists who work with businesses across from U.S. every day on the specific challenges and opportunities in Africa.

    Therefore, we believe that as US firms take a closer look at the import/export goals within West Africa in the areas of globalization, banking & financial reforms, power, agriculture, medical care, good governance, education, and infrastructure there will be mobilization in economic targets with the appropriate qualitative & quantitative charge for various countries. Thereby, ATBC’s vision is to be the foremost in facilitating sustainable development in West Africa through positive promotion of international trade and investment with the Arena Energy Pilot Project, infrastructure projects and trade leads to U.S. minority, women, & STEM owned/operated firms, having substantial growth within the next five years.

    We welcome the opportunity to have someone attend our upcoming event and be actively engaged in seeing U.S firms succeed.

    • Thanks for your comment. We’re glad to have a partner in the African Trade Business Center! Thanks for your help in supporting U.S. businesses conducting business in Africa. We look forward to working together!

  3. How may we get a copy of this and publish this post in our newsroom as apost and credit ITA for the information? Is this available in the form of a press release?

    • We haven’t put out any press releases on these initiatives, but you may be able to find something on whitehouse.gov

  4. I am in negotiation to do business with an entrepreneur based in South Africa. The opportunities are definitely growing there, and I see more and more corps and even small businesses looking to Africa as a place to conduct business.

    • That’s great! Best of luck in your endeavors and please let us know if we can help.

  5. Africa was and still the biggest market but it should be handle only to create the best spot to built new commerce

  6. we believe that as US firms take a closer look at the import/export goals within West Africa in the areas of globalization, banking & financial reforms, power, agriculture, medical care, good governance, education, and infrastructure there will be mobilization in economic targets with the appropriate qualitative & quantitative charge for various countries

  7. These initiatives will rely heavily on public-private partnerships to succeed.

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