Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

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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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Thoughts from Day 5 of Our Historic Trade Mission to Africa

March 11, 2010

Suresh Kumar is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service

Greetings from Johannesburg! I just arrived here last night, on a flight from Dakar, where I have been leading 8 terrific U.S. companies on a Commerce Department trade mission to Senegal and South Africa. This delegation represents the first trade mission of the Obama Administration to Sub-Sahara Africa, and the first trade mission by the U.S. Government to Senegal in over ten years.

Our delegation completed a whirlwind three days in Senegal. We made great progress in laying a foundation for increased commercial engagement that will lead to a stronger Africa and a stronger America. Our Foreign Commercial Service office in Dakar arranged matchmaking meetings for our companies with over 70 qualified Senegalese buyers. U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat and I had frank and constructive meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers. We emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to free and fair trade, and open and transparent processes. We also secured a Memorandum of Understanding from the Government of Senegal on following FAA guidelines covering federal air marshals.

I have spent the last few years working with African leaders on strategies for developing their nations. This mission reinforced that trade more than aid leads to sustainable economic stability and prosperity. Clearly, the International Trade Administration, through the US & Foreign Commercial Service, has a pivotal road to play in expanding trade to create jobs, and ensuring that U.S. economic and national security interests are protected.

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Serving the U.S. Business Community in South Africa

October 5, 2009

Jed Diemond has been with the Market Access and Compliance (MAC) division of ITA for almost eight years.  He serves as the Senior International Economist covering the five Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. 

Last month I got to do the most interesting and fun part of my job: I staffed Stephen Jacobs, the acting assistant secretary for MAC, during his trip to Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa.  I worked very closely with the Senior Commercial Officer in South Africa, Craig Allen, and his staff on the trip.  Over an intense two days, we had a series of meetings with U.S. companies based in South Africa, South African business and trade promotion organizations, and South African government trade officials.  Our goal was to explore ways to expand the U.S.-South Africa trade and investment relationship.  Some of the themes of the meetings included cooperation on intellectual property rights protection and advancing trade and investment promotion cooperation in the context of a U.S.-SACU trade and investment dialogue that we are trying to jump-start. As the South Africa desk officer, I had the unique opportunity to work with Acting Assistant Secretary Jacobs to shape our message in the meetings and expand my own working relationships in South Africa, which allows me be more effective in my job.

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