Corporate Council on Africa And The Preparation of Botswana for 15th US-Africa Business Summit

February 7, 2023
President Mokgweetsi Masisi CEO Florizelle Liser Corporate Council on Africa 15th US-Africa Business Summit

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the leading US business association that focuses solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa, has indicated its strong commitment towards holding the 15th US-Africa Business Summit (USABS) in July in Gaborone, Botswana.

The 15th USABS theme Enhancing Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains will highlight multi-dimensional issues that were heavily discussed during the business forum held on the second day of the US-Africa leaders’ summit in Washington. The decision was taken during the last US-African leaders gathering held under the chairmanship of President Joe Biden. The primary aim is to strengthen and broaden bilateral business and investment across Africa.

During that mid-December meeting, President Biden announced more than $55 billion in new US government programs to support trade, investment and development in Africa, along with more than $15 billion in new trade and investment deals made by private sector companies that were in attendance.

The Corporate Council on Africa said that the Gaborone business event would bring together a number of African heads of state, senior US and African government officials, and top CEOs and senior business executives from the US and Africa, spanning major business sectors that are critical to the continent’s development. These include infrastructure, ICT/digital, health, energy, mining, agriculture, consumer goods, finance, tourism and creative industries.

In order to set the ball rolling, Corporate Council on Africa President and CEO, Florizelle Liser, had an official working program in Gaborone, the Republic of Botswana. During the early February working visit, Florizelle Liser held talks with Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, and other key officials of the relevant ministries in Gaborone, where she was given the highest assurance of mobilizing the ministries and working collaboratively with CCA.

Florizelle Liser, with Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Mmusi Kgafela, agreed that the summit would be held July 11-14 in Gaborone, which will attempt to highlight various opportunities for greater collaboration between the US and African private sector. It will also build on and advance those earlier discussions further on deepening US-Africa economic engagement and business ties.

According to Florizelle Liser, the US-Africa Business Summit is an important platform and opportunity to bring together again US and African government and private sector leaders to grow US-Africa trade, business, and mutually beneficial gains for the people and businesses of both the United States and Africa.

Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mmusi Kgafela said the business gathering would herald a new era of two-way trade and investment between Africa and the United States.

“We welcome U.S. private sector businesses to drive investment and technology that can enhance Africa’s role in key global value chains, create jobs, and spur economic growth here in Botswana and across the continent,” he underlined in remarks.

Welcoming African entrepreneurs, African-American and African leaders for a reception last December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was guided by the principle of close partnership with Africa. “We can’t solve any of the really big challenges we face if we don’t work together. So, it’s about what we can do with African countries and its people and the United States,” Blinken said.

That, however, the Gaborone high-level business dialogue and interaction will set the scene for reviewing the multi-dimensional opportunities both in public and private sectors, how to strengthen the economic partnership and work on large-scale investments in key sectors for the United States and Africa. The United States investors are prepared to adjust their initiatives and pursue agreements that go beyond African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In terms of broadening trade and economic cooperation, according to sources, the potential American investors would examine ways for exploring and leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA aims to create a single market with an estimated population of 1.3 billion and ultimately requires all kinds of business services and consumable products. Quite challenging, though there are new legislations that stipulate localizing production and distribution inside Africa.

The United States government and private sector leaders, together with African political and corporate business leaders, have been consistently working over these years to share insights on critical issues and policies influencing the US-Africa economic partnership. The forthcoming summit will drive billions of dollars of investment in Africa, build new markets for American products and create thousands of jobs for African and American workers.

The 14th US-Africa Business Summit from July 19 – 22 under the theme ‘Building Forward Together’ was held in Marrakech (Morocco) in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco and Africa50 (the pan-African infrastructure investment platform). The three-day summit included plenaries and panel sessions highlighting key economic recovery strategies and focused on a range of sectors and issues, including health and vaccine access, trade, digital transformation, infrastructure, financing, small and medium-scale enterprises, tourism, women’s leadership and investment opportunities in various African countries.

The Corporate Council on Africa was extremely grateful for the excellent partnership of the Kingdom of Morocco as the summit host and partner, Africa50, as well as summit sponsors including Royal Air Maroc (the summit official airline), Axxess, Jean Boulle Group, Pfizer, Visa, USP, Amazon, Gilead, Trimble, IHS Towers, Trade and Development Bank, Acrow Bridge, Trinity Energy, Citi, Flutterwave Inc., P&G, DLA Piper LLP, Attijariwafa Bank, Maroc Telecom, Creative Associates, Google, CrossBoundary and Frontier Bridge.

Corporate Council on Africa uniquely represents a broad cross-section of member companies, from small and medium-sized businesses to multinationals as well as US and African firms.

As a further major step to strengthen relations, it will be working on comprehensive programs, concrete initiatives and various investment projects in Africa. The White House looks to use the existing opportunities to deepen as many partnerships as possible and to build confidence with Africa ultimately.

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