Kenneth R. Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando U.S. Export Assistance Center.
With the United States continuing its focus on doing business in Africa, we are working to connect more U.S. companies with every opportunity available on the continent.
From the recent U.S.-Africa Business Forum to the upcoming DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Sub-Saharan Africa event in Atlanta, the United States has made it a priority to support U.S. companies doing business in Africa.
Of course, a big part of selling or closing any deal is securing buyer finance.
When it comes to public procurement in Sub-Saharan Africa, where U.S. exports have grown 52 percent since 2009, the African Development Bank (AfDB) makes project financing possible for its 53 Regional Member Countries.
This financing can be a huge help for a U.S. company doing business in Africa. In 2013, the AfDB funded 317 projects valued at $6.8 billion.
Our Export Assistance Centers are here to help you take advantage of services from the AfDB, but here are some important details to keep in mind:
- The AfDB operates under two sets of rules for procurement, one for goods and works, and a second for services;
- Bid documents are made available to the public on the UN Development Business website and the AfDB website;
- The AfDB private sector banking arm readily accepts proposals to fund a portion of projects with a significant developmental impact – mainly in infrastructure and agribusiness;
- U.S. government advocacy services are available, and these services can support U.S. exporters bidding on public-sector contracts with African governments or agencies; and
- U.S. Export Assistance Centers can also help in instances of suspected irregularities, fraud or corruption in the bid process or award.
As the International Trade Administration expands its presence in Africa, we will also be re-opening the AfDB U.S. Liaison Office to provide U.S. companies with market intelligence and information on projects in the pipeline, advocacy, and project consultation.
Other Federal agencies are also here to support your business:
- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation provides political risk insurance and support for private equity investment in foreign countries;
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency facilitates the implementation of priority infrastructure and development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa in clean energy, transportation, telecommunications, agribusiness and water;
- The U.S. Agency for International Development works closely with AfDB to support electrical infrastructure development through the Power Africa initiative; and
- The Export-Import Bank of the United States provides working capital guarantees, export credit insurance, loan guarantees, and direct loans.
The fact is, there has never been a better time for your company to look at doing business in Africa. And there has never been more support available to assist you.