Archive for the ‘Doing Business in Africa’ Category

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Connecting African Leaders to U.S. Industry Beyond the Beltway

July 25, 2014

This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.

The Honorable Leocadia I. Zak is the Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Leocadia I. Zak

Leocadia I. Zak

The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with our African partners, will help the United States play a driving role in the continent’s future development.

Many Americans are aware that sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with tremendous potential, but they may not know about significant plans to develop infrastructure across the continent. We believe that these plans represent enormous business opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes, and that is why we have invited key African decision-makers to meet with private-sector leaders in Chicago and Houston prior to the Summit.

These African Leaders’ Visits, which the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is partnering with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to host from July 30 to August 1, will highlight the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments. These Visits are the only commercially focused events to take African leaders to major U.S. cities outside of Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the Summit.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx and I will co-host the African Leaders’ Visit: Transport in Chicago for transportation ministers whose countries have recently announced plans for significant near-term expansions in both rail and aviation infrastructure. Site visits to the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal and O’Hare International Airport will feature the U.S. rail and aviation industries and demonstrate how the development of transportation infrastructure has made Chicago an international hub for finance, industry, and technological innovation.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and I will lead the African Leaders’ Visit: Energy in Houston for energy ministers as they face important decisions on how best to develop their countries’ extensive natural gas reserves. In Houston, the delegates will visit energy facilities that were developed to transport and utilize the area’s natural gas resources and that have helped create an economic boom.

Logo for the African Leaders VisitThe Visits will provide U.S. companies of all sizes exposure to African leaders in settings that showcase the operation of their cutting-edge technologies and services. In Chicago and Houston, the leaders will discuss investment opportunities in their countries and identify potential areas of partnership with the United States. U.S. businesses interested in participating in the Visits can find additional information at www.ustda.gov/africanleadersvisits or on social media via #ALVTransport and #ALVEnergy.

By emphasizing American ingenuity and innovation that can address the continent’s infrastructure needs, the African Leaders’ Visits will help establish new – and strengthen existing – commercial partnerships between the United States and Africa.

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U.S.-Africa Business Success Stories: How a Texas Oil Company Started Doing Business in Cameroon and Morocco

July 23, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

The geographic distance between Texas-based Arnold Oil Company and Sub-Saharan Africa may be thousands of miles, but their economic relationship has never been closer. U.S. businesses like the Arnold Oil Company are increasingly finding economic opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa: between 2001 to 2012, U.S. trade to sub-Saharan Africa tripled from $6.9 billion to $22.5 billion dollars. Africa is now home to six of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, leading President Obama to call sub-Saharan Africa the “world’s next major economic success story.” That is why the Department of Commerce is working to facilitate and advocate for American businesses in this growing region, and U.S. firms are eager to help unlock even more of Africa’s economic potential.

A family-owned supplier of automotive and oil lubricant products, the Arnold Oil Company became interested in expanding its business abroad. They met with the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Austin to request assistance in developing an exporting and marketing plan for their products. After creating a plan that satisfied the company, the USEAC arranged for a meeting with a representative from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to assist the Arnold Oil Company with financing its exports.

But the USEAC took its assistance one step further, introducing the Arnold Oil Company to a buyer in Cameroon, who eventually was signed as a distributer. As a result of this relationship, the Arnold Oil Company was able to ship their first exports of oil lubricants to Morocco, generating revenue of more than $24,000 in 2013. With assistance from the USEAC, the Arnold Oil Company was able to expand its business into one of the most economically dynamic regions in the world.

In 2012, the Commerce Department launched the Doing Business in Africa Campaign to help U.S. businesses, like the Arnold Oil Company, take advantage of the many export and investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the campaign, Commerce has expanded trade promotion programs tailored toward Africa and dedicated an online Africa business portal to direct businesses to federal resources. In addition, on August 5, the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa.  The Forum will be attended by President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, Mayor Bloomberg, and other senior U.S. government officials. The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. These efforts are helping American businesses expand and enter the global market for the first time, and the Department of Commerce remains committed to helping create more exporting success stories.

Businesses interested in learning more about the benefits of exporting should contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

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Discover the Next Markets for Your Business

May 1, 2014

Arun Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Logo. The DISCOVER Series is your business's link to expanding your exports all over the world.

The DISCOVER Series is your business’s link to expanding your exports all over the world.

Succeeding in the global marketplace is all about intelligence. Businesses need to understand their target markets, identify the key opportunities, and have the resources to compete.

That’s what the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS (DGM) Business Forum Series is all about.

Today in San Antonio, business leaders from around the country are joining U.S. Commercial Service staff from around the world to help companies do three things: Compete, win, and grow in the global marketplace.

The next two days will be full of market insight, best practices, key tips, and lessons learned for businesses looking to succeed in Africa, the Middle East, and India. These are three growing and promising global markets for U.S. companies.

What better place to for this event than in San Antonio, Texas, where exports have tripled since 2009!

But DGM isn’t about just one city or one region; it’s about opportunities – global opportunities. The DISCOVER series is traveling the country, providing unrivaled insight into growing export markets and key U.S. industries. Upcoming forums include the following:

Attendees at these conferences not only get to network with other business leaders and market specialists, they can receive one-on-one counseling with commercial officers working in target markets. They can also receive personalized strategic advice to make sure they have every advantage available when competing overseas.

If you couldn’t make this event in San Antonio, you can follow updates from the conference on Twitter at @DiscoverForums and with #DGMSanAntonio. You’ll be able to catch some of the insights participating businesses are learning and see first-hand testimonials as to how beneficial events like this can be for your company.

Make sure to check out the upcoming DISCOVER events and register for one near you. If you have questions, you can contact us right now at DiscoverGlobalMarkets@trade.gov.

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New Expansion to Support New Opportunities

April 29, 2014

Arun Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Arun Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Arun Kumar

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Last week, Commerce Secretary Pritzker made an important announcement that demonstrates the United States’ commitment to supporting developing economies and the Department of Commerce’s commitment to U.S. businesses competing overseas.

The Department’s International Trade Administration will open offices in five new markets, bringing Foreign Commercial Service (CS) officers into some of the world’s most rapidly developing economies. In cooperation with the U.S. State Department, we will open offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Burma this calendar year.

These new offices, and our staff additions in other offices around the world, will make us more capable of supporting U.S. exporters. We can support more Gold Key Matchmaking, we can conduct more market research, and we can help connect U.S. companies to more global markets.

As a new member of the Department of Commerce team, I’m very excited to be a part of this major expansion – especially in such important markets for U.S. businesses.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world. The International Monetary Fund predicts continued growth throughout the continent, as part of a broad continental economic transformation.

Our new offices will support White House initiatives like Trade Africa and Power Africa, which have spearheaded a larger campaign to bolster development throughout the continent.

As U.S. companies look to ship goods to Africa, help increase electrical capacity, or help improve transportation networks, they will receive unparalleled assistance and expertise from our staff. With our new offices on the continent, we will be able to find partners for American companies, help navigate regulatory hurdles, and support the development that will make Africa thrive.

Our team in Thailand is already assisting American companies doing business in Burma, and our new office in Rangoon is a symbol of the importance of this market and of America’s commitment to Burmese reform, growth, and increased openness. We know that the Burmese people see U.S. goods as being of high quality, and the nation’s businesses are looking to get involved with American companies.

As this expansion takes place, these markets are where we will truly see the mutual benefits of trade.

As U.S. companies find more opportunities in these growing economies, they will bring the infrastructure and ideas that improves quality of life for citizens and they will support the partnerships that spur innovation among local businesses.

This announcement is just the start. I’m very excited to see how this expansion will help support existing partnerships, create new opportunities, and bring about the kind of development that is only possible through global trade.

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Seize the Opportunity and Expand to Africa with the Doing Business in Africa Campaign

November 28, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. (photo © Graham Bedingfield/iStock)

Aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. (photo © Graham Bedingfield/iStock)

Now is a great time to do business in Africa.  Consider these stats, highlighted today in remarks given by Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 6 of the 10 fastest growing markets in the world.
  • Economic growth in the region is predicted to be strong – between 5 and 6 percent – in coming years.
  • And – most importantly – millions of Africans are finding a path from poverty to greater opportunity and prosperity.

This progress is good news for our friends in Africa; it’s also good news for American businesses.  As these numbers show, the growing African market is an increasingly attractive destination for quality products and services.  It just so happens that goods that are “Made in America” are the best in the world.  Now, we just need to link this supply with the demand, and make it easier for U.S. firms to operate in the dynamic African market.

One important effort towards achieving this goal: the “Doing Business in Africa” (DBIA) campaign which I launched with Acting Secretary Blank in South Africa earlier today.

It’s a whole-of-government approach that will:

  • promote more U.S. trade with Africa;
  • increase trade financing;
  • and engage with important stakeholders – like the United States’ African Diaspora community – to ensure they have all the tools needed to do business in the African market.

To achieve these goals, the campaign is involved in a number of initiatives, including:

  • organizing an Africa Global Business Summit Series so that U.S. companies can hear directly from our Ambassadors in Africa and Senior Commercial Officers about opportunities in the region;
  • opening the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Development and Finance Center in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2013 to help identify and access U.S. government support for clean energy export and investment needs; and
  • developing an Africa Business Portal, providing valuable information about trade assistance programs and financing.

To learn more about the DBIA campaign, visit the websiteIt’s sure to represent an important step towards the goal of increased prosperity and opportunity.

Another important step that coincided with the launch of the DBIA campaign is our historic trade mission to Zambia – the first-ever.   I am currently leading a delegation of 13 U.S. companies to both Zambia and South Africa.

This trade mission represents an important opportunity for U.S. businesses.  Trade between the U.S. and these two countries is booming.  In the case of U.S. and Zambia, total bilateral trade more than doubled in 2011.

In the case of South Africa, the largest U.S. export market in Sub-Saharan Africa, total U.S.-South Africa trade was nearly $17 billion in 2011, up from $13.9 billion the year before.  And, both the companies on the mission and the parties we are meeting with are determined to keep this momentum going.

To accomplish this, we are talking with public and private sector officials to facilitate U.S. business opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Participating firms are gaining market insights, making industry contacts, and solidifying business strategies with the goal of increasing U.S. exports to the region.

By boosting U.S. exports, we can strengthen the American economy and fuel economic growth.  This work also advances the President Obama’s vision of greater U.S. engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa, as outlined by the Administration’s “U.S. Strategy on Sub-Saharan Africa” released in June.

All of us at the Department of Commerce share the President’s belief that Africa can be the world’s next great economic success story and value the opportunity to leverage our resources to support this trade mission and the Doing Business in Africa campaign.

Visit the DBIA website on Export.gov to learn more about this exciting new initiative.

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On the Horizon: New Business Endeavors in Sub-Saharan Africa

July 26, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on July 25, 2012.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on July 25, 2012.

On June 14th, President Obama announced a new U.S. strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a region of growing economic prominence and I am pleased that the President is focused on how the U.S. and African countries can work together to expand economic opportunities for all of their citizens.

The U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa will expand our efforts to increase economic growth, trade, and investment in the region while elevating our commercial relationships. It places an emphasis on development and partnerships and as a result, there will be an increased focus on improving economic governance and regional integration, expanding African capacity access global markets, and encouraging U.S. companies to invest in the region.

And that is exactly what I told Congress yesterday while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. On the invitation of Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, I was privileged to address the Committee and highlight the important work the Department of Commerce and our own International Trade Administration is doing in the region.

U.S. exports reached $2.1 trillion in total value last year – an all time record. And these exports supported 9.7 million valuable jobs. I want those numbers to climb even higher and Sub-Saharan Africa is a promising venue to do just that.

In fact, in 2011, U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa were just over $21 billion. Rich in natural resources and emerging opportunities, this region has incredible potential. The mutual benefits are boundless and Commerce and the Administration are doing everything we can to develop these partnerships and markets.

To promote business opportunities, Commerce has taken part in a number of initiatives:

  • The U.S. Commercial Service maintains a balanced presence in the region through offices in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
  • Our Partnership Post Program with the State Department operates in 25 countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, providing U.S companies with vital export assistance in numerous lucrative markets. This partnership is an important component of our efforts to leverage federal resources.
  • The hard work of our Advocacy Center has helped U.S companies win bids that will directly support U.S. jobs in several states.
  • Through our chairmanship of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), we have begun developing a “Doing Business in Africa” campaign. The campaign involves outreach to the African Diaspora communities here in the U.S to raise awareness of federal assistance programs for doing business on the continent.
  • New trade missions have been scheduled and we are starting to recruit participating U.S. businesses. In September, the Department of Commerce will lead an Aerospace Trade Mission to South Africa while November will see a multi-sector mission travel to South Africa and Zambia.
  • We are working to establish the United States-East Africa Community Commercial Dialogue.  Among other things, this initiative will work to create business opportunities in key sectors.
  • And to reassure U.S. businesses, we are working to address concerns regarding intellectual property.  A common anxiety in all instances of international trade, the Commercial Law Development Program is working to structure IP guidelines and hosting workshops to train government officials.

These are just a few of the projects and resources we are developing. I urge everyone to continue to visit our blog for regular updates in the coming months on our work to support U.S. businesses exporting to Africa – and the development of the continent as a whole.

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Growth and Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 14, 2012

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration

This week I am participating in the 11th Annual U.S.-Sub-Saharan Trade and Economic Forum, hosted this year in Washington, D.C. The event is mandated by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and is the U.S. Government’s premier high-level, bilateral event with Sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s theme is “Enhancing Africa’s Infrastructure for Trade.”

The AGOA Forum brings together over 600 participants, including senior U.S. and African officials, as well as U.S. and African members of the private sector and civil society.

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Serivces Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale delivers opening remarks during the 11th annual AGOA forum held at the State Department June 7-8. (Photo Commerce)

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Serivces Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale delivers opening remarks during the 11th annual AGOA forum held at the State Department June 7-8. (Photo Commerce)

I am honored to be co-chairing a session with Humberto Brito, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy, Cape Verde focused on ways to create an attractive regulatory environment to attract renewable energy investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a continent of opportunities for U.S. businesses with overall projected growth rates of approximately six percent in 2012 – some of the highest in the world. In looking at the world’s ten fastest growing economies from 2001 – 2010, six were in Africa. This trend accelerates in 2011-2015 with seven of the ten world’s fastest growing economies being in Africa. In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World an impressive 36 out of 46 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa improved business regulations this year – a record number since 2005. Of the economies that improved the most in the ease of doing business in 2010/2011, with improvements in three or more areas of regulation measured by Doing Business, four of the twelve are Sub-Saharan African countries.

While a plethora of opportunities exist, they must be balanced with the market barriers that can inhibit development. The challenges to doing business in this part of the world are well-known – graft and corruption, weak legal frameworks, customs issues, weak enforcement of intellectual property rights, and lack of infrastructure, among others. The Department of Commerce works diligently on behalf of U.S. companies to not only help U.S. businesses pursue opportunities, but also to facilitate the elimination of these barriers.

The United States Government has been proactive in promoting increased opportunity in Africa. The Department of Commerce led a trade mission of 19 companies to South Africa last fall, and a trade mission to South Africa and Zambia is planned for November this year. In February of this year the State Department also led an energy trade mission to Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. These missions are ideal opportunities to encourage private sector linkages which in turn underscore economic development as a path towards prosperity, sustained economic growth, and increased trade and investment.

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