Africa has huge opportunity for partnership – US Deputy Secretary of Commerce

The United States (US) sees Africa as a huge opportunity for partnership and mutual economic growth hinged on mutual respect, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves, has said.

“It’s about shared partnership.  This is not exploitation or extraction.  This is about providing the investment, the resources, the know how, the skills so that Africa can continue to grow and find stability and be a long-term economic partner for the United States. 

“That’s all we ask for, is we hope that African countries see or view the United States as the partner of choice going forward for the upcoming 10, 20, 50, 100 years”, he said during an online press briefing on Tuesday.

The briefing was a platform for Mr Graves, now back home, to discuss his recent trip to Ghana, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he participated in the Africa CEO Forum, US-Ghana Business Forum.

The visit was to advance the Biden Administration’s priorities for Africa, promoted US-African business relations, and advanced key US national security perspectives.

He said the US was committed to working with the governments of Africa by utilising the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and other US initiatives such as Prosper Africa, Power Africa and President’s Advisory Council for Doing Business in Africa – to expand its trade.

“The United States is committed to being a partner in solidarity, in support, and, most importantly perhaps, mutual respect to countries across Africa, and that we’re committed to working together through the short-term challenges that we’re all facing while building together for a long – for long-term stability and sustainable growth” he said.

Mr Graves said the Department of Commerce was looking forward to engaging further through the upcoming US Africa Business Forum, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure.

He said the US was putting together trade missions for the rest of this year to support the structural transformation and growth that African countries seek to realise.

Already, he said, the US had a number of tools it was using to drive trade engagement in Africa, including our Prosper Africa Initiative, which is focusing on increasing two-way trade between the United States and many of the countries across the continent.

He said since the Initiative was launched back in June of 2019, it had  led to $50 billion worth of trade engagements, direct – of direct trade partnerships, across 45 different countries on the continent.

“We also have Power Africa, which is really focused on making sure that we help the continent transition to a place where they have the type of power infrastructure that they need not just to make sure that every community is connected”, he said.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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