Archive for the ‘Doing Business in Africa’ Category

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Partnering to Bring More Businesses to Some of the World’s Most Promising Markets

August 12, 2015

Denis Csizmadia is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Assistance Center in Greenville, SC.

I’ll be blunt: we are about five weeks away from one of the most important trade missions in U.S. history.

Trade Winds—Africa will be the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to the continent, and the U.S. Commercial Service will connect more than 100 companies to business opportunities in eight of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

We’ll have local market experts, Fortune 500 companies that are already succeeding on the continent, innovative U.S. small businesses, and key government decision-makers all under one roof and with one objective: to connect U.S. companies to the most promising business opportunities on the continent.

The best part is, your company can have its name and logo all over it.

We’re currently recruiting Marketing Partners to join the mission and be a part of our Business Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. Representatives from your company can join the Forum and receive all the benefits of attendees, plus additional benefits as a marketing partner:

  • Key networking sessions,
  • One-on-one business counseling,
  • Access to local thought leaders,
  • Your corporate logo on promotional materials,
  • Display space at the Forum.

The United States is all in on doing business in Africa, and more and more companies are targeting the market with help from U.S. government assistance. This is a great opportunity for your company to get ahead of the curve and establish itself as a leader in the trend of doing business in Africa.

Officials on the continent have told us that they are ready for more U.S. companies to do business in their markets. Consumers are actively seeking the Made-in-America label. U.S. companies large and small are increasing revenue and making an impact in developing markets.

I’d like to thank all the great companies, organizations, and agencies that have signed up as Trade Winds Marketing Partners and I hope many of you will join us on this important mission. There’s never been a better time to do business in Africa, and our team would love to help yours succeed.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us.

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U.S. Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Capitalize on Emerging Markets in Africa

July 30, 2015

Evi Fuelle is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion and Coordinating Committee Office.

Earlier this week, several young innovators and entrepreneurs convened in Nairobi, Kenya, for one of the most exciting entrepreneurial opportunities in the world: the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

President Obama and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Africa for the 2015 GES, the global business community’s equivalent of the “World Cup.”

During the sixth annual GES, the President addressed more than 1,200 attendees. The first to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, the 2015 GES shined a spotlight on the growing importance of the Continent as a center of business.

Secretary Pritzker led a delegation of roughly 200 U.S. investors to the Summit, including entrepreneurs at various points of their business development, and a diverse group of leaders and mentors from the business community.

As the Obama administration’s lead for entrepreneurship, Secretary Pritzker participated in a number of events during the GES, including the official pre-summit youth and women session, which brought together 150 entrepreneurs from around the world to provide them with an opportunity to discuss specific challenges, interact with industry experts, and pitch their business ideas to companies. Secretary Pritzker also hosted roundtables and meetings with select entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials.

Entrepreneurship is critical to generating economic growth, stimulating employment, and providing a basis for better economic and political stability. The U.S. government continues to lead numerous initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship and business in Africa, including the U.S. Commercial Service’s Trade Winds program, which will begin in South Africa on September 14, and will continue across the Continent through September 21.

The 2015 Trade Winds program offers U.S. companies the opportunity to explore eight markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring an Africa-focused business forum, the program consists of regional and industry specific conference sessions, as well as pre-arranged consultations with U.S. Senior Government Diplomats representing commercial markets from 19 African countries.

A Business Development Conference will be held from September 16-18 in Johannesburg as a feature of Trade Winds South Africa, giving businesses access to high visibility networking events with leading industry and government officials. The Business Development Conference will also provide businesses with the opportunity to conduct individual consultations with eight U.S. Commercial Service officers and 13 U.S. State Department posts from U.S. Embassies.

Other trade mission stops during Trade Winds Africa will give participants the opportunity to conduct customized business-to-business meetings with pre-screened firms in Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Both the GES and Trade Winds South Africa will provide unparalleled opportunities for U.S. innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners to capitalize on emerging markets in Africa, and the chance to seek out new innovation partners, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to helping entrepreneurs around the world realize the benefits of ingenuity.

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Benin is Powering Up and Wants U.S. Products and Expertise

July 10, 2015
Omar Arouna,Benin Ambassador to the United States

The Benin Ambassador to the United States, Omar Arouna wants more Americans to do business in Benin.

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

It’s not every day when a credentialed ambassador to the United States leans over, eyes brightening, and says, “If small U.S. companies come to Africa, they will make money.  A lot of money.”

He smiles as he savors the words a lot, as if tasting something delicious.

But then it’s back to reality.  He’s asked about perceptions among U.S. businesspeople that much of Africa is decidedly unpalatable, unhealthy, unfriendly, and unprofitable.

The Benin Ambassador to the United States Omar Arouna has heard it all before.  “Benin has been a stable democracy since 1990,” he explains.  “We have the same values, the same aspirations as the American people.  We see things exactly like the American people.”

He wants more Americans to do business in Benin, a country the size of Kentucky on the coast of West Africa. Benin’s 10 million people work mostly in the service sector and in agriculture, where the main exports are cotton, pineapple, and cashews.

The port of Cotonou provides access to the sea for the inland countries of Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso.  “We’re a small county with a big footprint,” said Arouna, referring to Benin’s location and access to a much larger regional market of more than 300 million people, including its big next door neighbor Nigeria.

But perhaps the best money-making opportunity is in Benin, with immediate business to be generated, thanks to $400 million from the people of the United States.  Benin has entered into a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an arm of the State Department that doles out development dollars in exchange for demonstrable progress in good governance and building a market economy.

Power to the People                                                  

Combustion Associates does business in Benin

Combustion Associates confirms that Benin has been good for business.

This round of funding (a previous round helped build a port) is to strengthen the energy sector with a focus on renewables, including bio mass and solar.  More power generation at cheaper prices is needed to boost productivity, and any surplus can be sold to the regional power grid for consumption by other countries all the way to Cote d’Voire.

“We need the technology and expertise of the smaller U.S. companies,” said Arouna.  “The scale of what we need is better suited to the smaller company.  We need consulting services, hardware, even companies and investors to build and operate power-generating facilities.”

He said that there are a number of small U.S. companies working in Benin, including Combustion Associates, which manufactures portable power plants.  The owners, who are clients of the Commercial Service, confirmed that Benin has been good for business.

The Benin government is responsible for managing the MCC funds procurement process, and while the assistance is not tied (there’s no requirement that U.S. contractors be used), Arouna made it clear that he hopes U.S. companies will submit proposals when the tenders start coming out via the government’s website in late August and continuing into next year.

For businesses wanting to hit the ground running, a trade mission to Benin is scheduled for August 3-7.  If you want to talk business, Arouna says you can contact him by email directly at the embassy in Washington, D.C., emphasizing that you “don’t even need an appointment.”

“Better yet,” he said, ”I’ll meet you at the airport in Benin.”  And he’s not saying that to be diplomatic.  He means it.

For more information on the trade mission to Benin, visit the trade mission page on the Embassy’s website. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Growing the Export Tradition in North Carolina

June 10, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Wayne Cooper is the Chair of the District Export Council of North Carolina, a Marketing Partner for the Trade Winds-Africa Business Forum and Trade Mission.

Wayne Cooper

Wayne Cooper

As long as North Carolina has been a state, it’s been an exporter.

One of our first main exports was pine tar, and one rumor has it that our use of pine tar in the Revolutionary War is how we became known as the Tar Heel State. But I’m not writing to talk about rumors, or about the past.

What I want to talk about is the future, and for companies here in North Carolina and around the country, the future is global. We’re on a winning streak here in this state, and I’m not talking about college basketball. North Carolina has set goods export records for four straight years, hitting $31.3 billion in 2014.

Our globally engaged companies are reaping the benefits of that success: finding more revenue, hiring more people, expanding their inventories, their services, and their companies.

Why wouldn’t your company want to find that kind of success?

At the North Carolina District Export Council, the importance of exporting is always top of mind for us. What we want is to help get more North Carolina companies on board.

That’s why we are so glad to work with the U.S. Commercial Service, and it’s why we are partnering on the Trade Winds—Africa Forum. When we talk about the future of global business, it would be folly to not talk about Africa. In development, population, spending power, and just about any other measure, few regions can compete with the growth in Africa.

I hope that companies across the state, from the beautiful sands of the Outer Banks to the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains, will take a look at opportunities in Africa, and at the Trade Winds mission. If there is any way your company can best take advantage of the opportunities in that continent, it’s with the help of the Commercial Service team.

I want more companies to find the success that our state’s exporters already enjoy, because we all know that there aren’t many places in the world that compete with North Carolina when it comes to manufacturing, building, selling, or providing quality products and services.

Now let me say this in my best North Carolina voice: I hope to see y’all in South Africa!

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Trade Winds – Africa Offers Opportunities, Tips, and Intel to U.S. Firms

May 29, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist in the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Northern Virginia.

Trade Winds Africa Business Development Conference and Trade Mission
Africa is a huge potential market for almost any U.S. exporter, but there are several factors for any business to consider before exporting to the continent:

  • What is your market potential?
  • How should you enter the market?
  • Who can you partner with on the ground?
  • How will you protect your intellectual property?

Good news: the Trade Winds—Africa Business Development Conference and trade mission in September 2015, will answer these questions and connect your company directly to the opportunities on the ground.

Check out the conference program and you’ll see that it runs the gamut of intelligence necessary for U.S. companies to take advantage of opportunities and find success in Africa.

U.S. Commercial Service officers from the region and expert guest panelists will explain how to mitigate business risk, brand your business, take advantage of government support, and access the growing middle class in these important emerging markets.

Click to register by June 15, 2015

Africa is one of the most promising regional markets in the world:

  • Regional economic growth has outpaced the world average and is forecast to continue.
  • A growing middle class means there’s an expanding pool of potential customers.
  • The regional focus on infrastructure development helps simplify the export process.
  • African leaders and consumers recognize and seek out quality American-made goods.

Don’t forget that in addition to the conference, there are also trade mission stops in eight growing African markets, where you will be connected directly to potential partners on the ground.

When you register for Trade Winds, our team will help identify the best markets for you, so you can make the most of your trip.

Are you ready to find your next customers and grow your business? Join us at Trade Winds! To get more information or if you have questions, contact us at tradewinds@trade.gov and follow the conversation on Twitter: #TradeWinds15.

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Three Reasons Africa Should Be Your Business’ Next Export Market

May 12, 2015

Shannon Christenbury is an International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Charlotte, NC. More and more American companies are looking outside the United States to find new customers. Expanding to new markets leads to increased revenue and more growth – great results for any American business. For many companies I work with in Charlotte, growing markets in Sub-Saharan Africa are some of the most promising markets to explore. In fact, a number of area businesses are already growing because they have taken advantage of opportunities on the continent. Here are three reasons U.S. companies need to consider Africa as an export market:

  1. There’s never been a better time to do business there. Years of steady economic growth have created a growing middle class, and that means there are more consumers looking for quality goods and services. And an increased focus on the market is making the export process simpler.
  1. African leaders and consumers are seeking the Made-in-America label. Not only do customers appreciate the quality of American products, they also recognize the positive contributions U.S. companies make through corporate social responsibility programs.
  1. Support from the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service is an unparalleled advantage. We have increased staff on the ground in Africa and an unequaled amount of expertise on the market, so there’s no better way for your company to have success on the continent than to work with us.

The best way to get started in taking advantage of opportunities in Africa is to join us at Trade Winds—Africa in September. Our team is leading the largest-ever U.S. trade mission to Sub-Saharan Africa, and we will connect your company to qualified, vetted partners who can help your business succeed. We will give you access to the African leaders and decision-makers that can give you the access you need.

register now button

Are you ready to find your next customer and grow your business? Join us at Trade Winds! To get more information or if you have questions, contact us at tradewinds@trade.gov and follow the conversation on Twitter: #TradeWinds15.

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President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa is Writing a New Chapter in U.S.-Africa Relations

April 9, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Post by Penny Pritzker

The President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Cover ImageToday, I led the first meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. This Council 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.”

Today’s gathering was intended to build on 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.

We want to see that kind of economic engagement continue, which is why I was honored that the President asked me to establish this Council – to ensure that the private sector’s perspective is factored into our policy making.

The Council’s job is to advise the Department of Commerce and the Obama Administration on how to expand trade and investment opportunities for U.S. firms in Africa and create opportunities for African companies that want to do business in America.

To meet this charge, the Council has focused on three key areas.

First is mobilizing capital, because robust capital markets are essential for any nation to attract long-term investment. The Commerce Department will soon launch an investor road show to provide U.S. financial firms and exporters with the opportunity to hear directly from African governments about their investment climates and specific infrastructure projects and to assess and address real market risks.

Second is improving supply chain efficiency. Ensuring quick and easy movement of imports and exports can help reduce cost, increase efficiency of trade, and boost government revenues.

Third is infrastructure. American companies have experience and expertise in developing infrastructure, but at the Commerce Department, we have heard repeatedly from U.S. companies about the challenge of competing on a level playing field with foreign firms to win major infrastructure projects. The Council has recommended the creation of a U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Center to identify, vet, and prioritize African infrastructure projects – which is a great start and will help change the dynamic.

The Department of Commerce has solutions. We have data. We have market expertise. And we have great people. Our Foreign Commercial Service has a full range of tools and services at your disposal, including staff on the ground to help U.S. companies succeed in Africa. We would like your ideas on how to get the word out.

We had robust discussions about all of these issues during today’s meeting, and I am confident that we can make great progress in the coming months and years. I look forward to continuing to work with the Council to make doing business in Africa easier for U.S. companies – and to keep America and Africa open for business together.

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