Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

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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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Growing the Export Tradition in North Carolina

June 10, 2015

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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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Commerce Department Helps Connect Illinois Businesses to Africa

March 19, 2015

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

Guest blog post by David P. Storch is the Chairman & CEO of AAR Corp. He is also a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.  

During the next decade, Africa’s GDP is projected to rise six percent each year. The Continent is being called the world’s next major economic success story, and this growing and untapped potential includes the aviation market where AAR is a U.S.-based global player.

On Tuesday, I joined U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte  to host a Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) roundtable in Chicago. This high-level gathering, with a select group of business leaders, was held to generate and share ideas on how the International Trade Administration (ITA) can help U.S. companies, primarily small- and medium-sized businesses, to better connect to, invest in, and export to Africa.

The roundtable brought together more than 30 leaders—from companies that focus on everything from investment capital to technology, and businesses ranging in size from start-ups to multimillion-dollar firms—to discuss the hurdles of conducting business in Africa and to learn how the U.S. government can help reduce those barriers.

According to my fellow business leaders who attended, particularly those from smaller companies, access to financing is a big obstacle to doing business in Africa. In fact, many say the only financing they can get is through the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Getting products across African borders is another challenge to selling products on the Continent. During his remarks, Assistant Secretary Jadotte advised companies interested in learning more about exporting to contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Centers, located in cities across the country.

For the last 30 years, AAR has traded aviation parts with customers in Africa. Recently, we started to focus on longer-term aviation service programs and relationships with businesses on the Continent. Our shift in focus is thanks to the increasing strength of African airlines and the help we received from the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During the roundtable, we also discussed another challenge to doing business in Africa: the lack of infrastructure. Using the aviation industry as an example, AAR can help African companies and workers gain aircraft maintenance knowledge and skills, but the countries also still need to build the related infrastructure needed for a more robust aviation industry, including runways, terminals, and hangars. Leaders at the roundtable suggested that the need for large capital investment in transportation, utilities, and communication is probably best served by African governments engaging in public-private partnerships.

We also talked about the desire of firms like AAR to partner with local African companies since they know the market better than we ever will. I think U.S. companies’ willingness to invest in Africa and its people also differentiates the United States. As U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, “when U.S. companies succeed, the benefits are mutually shared in the form of new economic opportunity at home and abroad.”

The key takeaway from Tuesday’s roundtable is that small and mid-sized companies need a better understanding of the resources the U.S. government can provide to help them break into the African market, and how and where to access those resources and tools.

The Obama administration’s support and “tools” were key to enabling AAR to navigate the business landscape and land a five-year, multimillion-dollar contract in 2014 to support Kenya Airways fleet of 737NG aircraft. The advocacy and access AAR gained through the Commerce Department gave us an advantage in the face of stiff competition from European companies, who are typically well supported by their governments.

To continue the conversation, many of the ideas generated at this week’s Chicago roundtable will be included in the recommendations that the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa will present to President Obama in a public forum on April 8 in Washington, D.C.

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African Ambassadors Make the Case for U.S. Companies to Do Business in Africa

February 5, 2015

Bill Fanjoy is the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Northern Virginia.

H.E. Ambassador Girma Birru of Ethiopia discussed the bilateral benefits of U.S.-Africa trade at a networking event with business leaders at the Embassy of Ethiopia.

H.E. Ambassador Girma Birru of Ethiopia discussed the bilateral benefits of U.S.-Africa trade at a networking event with business leaders at the Embassy of Ethiopia.

It was our honor for the International Trade Administration to join the Virginia-Washington D.C. District Export Council and Ambassadors from three of Africa’s fastest-growing economies at a recent networking event focused on U.S. companies doing business in Africa.

The message from the Ambassadors from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania was loud and clear: “We are ready for your business to come to Africa.”

It’s not just these Ambassadors who think your business should be looking at Africa. The facts support them:

  • Six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa.
  • Consumer spending is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, up from $860 billion in 2008.
  • Programs like Trade Africa and Power Africa under the President’s Doing Business in Africa campaign make it easier than ever for U.S. companies to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Demand is growing across sectors, from infrastructure to mining to retail.

That’s why we were glad to be a part of this networking event, and why we’re taking it a step further this year with Trade Winds—Africa, the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to Africa.

Participating in Trade Winds is a great opportunity to connect your business directly to opportunities in eight of the continent’s most promising markets. Our team will introduce you to the government leaders you need to know, connect you with the most qualified local partners, and provide you with the market insight to put you on the right track.

With Africa’s steady supply of resources, a growing population, an expanding consumer base, and increasing demand across sectors, there’s opportunity for almost any company—and there are a number of ways for you to take advantage:

Still not convinced? Stay tuned for details on an upcoming networking event at the South African Embassy, and let more African ambassadors tell you the truth—that Africa is ready for your business, and that there are few markets in the world as ready to help take your business to the next level.

(This post was edited on February 9, 2015 to include a link to the Doing Business in Africa website.)

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Historic Forum Yields Significant Gains for Africa-U.S. Business Ties

August 29, 2014

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig speaking with Elizabeth Littlefield, President & CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig speaking with Elizabeth Littlefield, President & CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted an event showing that Africa is one of the world’s next great sources of economic growth.

The first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum brought together American and African business leaders with the heads of nearly 50 African nations to exchange ideas and create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment.

And this was not just an academic discussion. We built the kind of relationships that will help usher in a new level of success for the growing economies and businesses of Africa, as well as spur real gains for U.S. companies.

Several American companies, among others, announced new partnerships in Africa, resulting in multi-million and multi-billion dollar deals:

Also, as part of the White House’s Power Africa initiative—which pledges to invest $7 billion and create an additional 10,000 megawatts of cleaner electricity over the next five years— American company Contour Global secured a $120 million contract to rehabilitate an existing Senegalese power site and construct a new one. That deal will provide another 53 megawatts of electricity to Senegal’s citizens.

As excited as my colleagues and I are about these deals, contract signings weren’t the only highlights of the forum.

The Obama administration, Commerce, and ITA announced several programs and initiatives to help American companies have continued access to opportunities in Africa:

  • President Obama signed an executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, which will include private sector guidance in expanding the U.S.-Africa commercial relationship.
  • The DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Sub-Saharan Africa Forum that will take place in Atlanta on November 5th and 6th will connect U.S. business leaders to even more opportunities in some of the world’s most promising markets.
  • The Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service will more than double its presence in Africa, increasing our ability to support businesses with market insight and business matchmaking. We will open offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, and expand offices in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya.
  • Commerce and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will lead 20 African trade missions by 2020.
  • Commerce launched a new website highlighting African market information, export financing tools, and potential projects, contacts, and business resources.

I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies for all the hard work they put into the Forum. Without their leadership and support, the event wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.

If your company is ready to support economic, infrastructure, or business development in Africa, there’s never been a better time than now to contact your nearest Export Assistance Center.

I look forward to working with Secretary Pritzker, the Commerce team, and American and African business leaders as we continue to support the world’s next great economic success story.

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