US Strengthening Trade with ‘The Rising Continent’ Africa

What is good for Africa is good for America

Hailing Africa’s economic resurgence in the 21st century, the United States of America today talked about America’s vision for global trade and opportunities for Africa.

In his remarks in Pretoria in South Africa,

Under Secretary Robert D. Hormats says the US is committed to supporting Africa’s integration into the global trading system.

“The cornerstone of our trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa is the African Growth and Opportunity Act” known as AGOA.” – Mr. Hormats

He says of all of US trade preference programs, AGOA provides the most liberal trade access to the U.S. market.

Exports from Africa to the United States under the AGOA have grown to $34.9 billion in 2012, he added.

South African Ambassador Harry Schwarz unveiling the new South African flag to U.S. President Bill Clinton in May 1994.

He says oil and gas still represent a large portion of Africa’s exports and non-petroleum exports under AGOA have tripled to nearly $5 billion since 2001, when AGOA went into effect.

And compared to a decade ago, more than twice the number of eligible countries are exporting non-petroleum goods under AGOA.

AGOA making a difference

According to Mr. Hormats, South Africa has made great strides in diversifying its exports to the United States and that is by the help of AGOA.

The US is now South Africa’s main export market for passenger cars, representing more than 50% of exported value in 2012.

He says because AGOA is such an important mechanism for African countries to gain access to the U.S. market, the Administration is committed to working with Congress on an early, seamless renewal of AGOA.

He points out that US trade relationship with Africa goes beyond AGOA.

For instance, AGOA represents only one-quarter of South African exports to the United States, he added.

He notes the composition of South Africa’s exports to the United States, moreover, reflects complex interdependencies and industrial goods.

Trade relationship with Africa is not just about one-way trade.

According to Mr. hormats, there is an immense opportunity for U.S. companies to do business on the continent.

The US recently launched the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign” to help American businesses identify and seize upon trade and investment opportunities in Africa.

He indicates that the campaign was announced in Johannesburg, in part, because South Africa can play a prominent role in directing U.S. investment into other parts of the continent.

Satellite image of city lights in Africa showing the lack of modern development on the continent (October 2000).

Africa is also featured in America’s vision for global trade in the 21st century.

The US government recently launched the U.S.-East African Community Trade and Investment Partnership which is the first of its kind to expand two-way trade and investment.

The Partnership is designed to build confidence among the private sector by building a more open and predictable business climate in East Africa.

“We are considering a variety of mechanisms to accomplish this, including a regional investment treaty and trade facilitation agreement.” – Mr. Hormats

He says the Partnership highlights US desire to help Africa integrate and compete in today’s global economy.

“What is good for Africa is good for America.”

Mr. Hormats concludes that that trade is at the heart of Africa’s economic resurgence. And Trade is also at the heart of America’s economic recovery.

“We have a common interest and a common goal.” – Mr. Hormats

San Bushman man from Botswana.

He says when it comes to enhanced trade, what is good for Africa is good for America. And vice-versa, what is good for America is good for Africa.

Africa booming in nearly every sector

According to the IMF, growth in sub-Saharan Africa will surge to 6.1% next year, well ahead of the global average of 4%.

Ranging from massive energy developments in Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, and other countries; to the growth of Rwanda and Kenya’s information and communications technology sectors; to South Africa’s thriving auto industry, Africa is making an important name in its economic resurgence.

Mr. Hormats says though far from declaring victory, Africa is reaching a turning point in its hard-fought battles against poverty and corruption.

“Today’s Africa looks nothing like what, in 2000, The Economist referred to as the “Hopeless Continent.” – Mr. Hormats

He says it is critical that US concentrates the world’s eyes on the new image of Africa, that of progress and promise.

In addition, perspectives are evolving in 2011, The Economist referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and, last March, as the “Hopeful Continent.”

US boosts partnership with four African nations

Former President Clinton worked with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region.

In addition President George W. Bush created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, programs that saved millions of lives and brought hundreds of thousands of Africans out of poverty.

In addition, over the last four years, President Obama has built on this foundation by forming partnerships based on mutual respect and responsibility with governments, entrepreneurs, youth, women, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, promote opportunity and development, and advance peace and security.

US says there is no doubt that they face many challenges in the coming years from the Horn to the Great Lakes, and the Sahel.

This is why their partnership has never been more important.

US optimistic of Africa’s future

US is optimistic of Africa’s future because the continent continues to make steady progress in political reform – more than half of the countries in Africa have embraced democratic, multiparty rule and elections and term limits are now widely accepted norms.

It is projected that Africa’s growth rate will soon surpass Asia’s and seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.