The United States (US) President, Joe Biden, has announced new investment commitments, deals, and partnerships worth more than $15 billion to boost two-way trade between the US and Africa.
The deals sealed between US state agencies, private firms, African countries, and entities cover areas including sustainable energy, agribusiness, digital connectivity, infrastructure, and finance and health systems.
Speaking at the US-Africa Business Forum held in Washington DC on Wednesday as part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, he said “US is all in on Africa’s future” because Africa’s success was a gain for the US and the world.
“Altogether, the forum has spurred more than $15 billion in new deals, which will turn, lift up, and improve the lives of people all across the continent. And that’s the biggest deal of all.
“These are long-term investments that are going to deliver real benefits to people; create new, good-paying jobs, including here in the United States; and expand opportunities for all our countries for the years to come”, he said.
The forum, organised by the US Department of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce, the Corporate Council on Africa, and the Prosper Africa initiative was on the theme “Partnering for a Prosperous and Resilient Future.
Attended by African leaders and business communities, it focused on advancing two-way trade and investment partnerships that enhance Africa’s role in the global economy, scale innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive advancements in key sectors.
Last year, U.S. goods and services traded with Africa totaled $83.6 billion.
Highlighting some of the new deals and partnerships, President Biden said the US had signed a pact with the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat to unlock new opportunities in the $3.4 trillion continental market for both Africans and Americans.
He mentioned that Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) had also signed its first-ever regional transport compact with the governments of Benin and Niger to invest $500 million to improve the transport of goods by road and sea.
The US government, he said, was expecting the MCC to invest $2.5 billion across Africa in the next three years, in the areas of agriculture, transportation, and renewable energy, adding that the Gambia, Togo Senegal, and Mauritania had been selected for new compacts on economic development.
President Biden announced that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation was investing nearly $370 million in new projects under which $100 million would be channeled into increasing the reliable clean energy for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He told the forum that $20 million would be used to finance fertiliser for smallholder farmers, particularly women farmers, to increase their yields and $10 million to support small and medium sized enterprises that help bring clean drinking water to communities all across the continent.
President Biden announced the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative through which $350 million would be invested to facilitate about half a billion dollars in financing to boost Africa’s digital economy and cyber security.
He also highlighted various pacts signed between American companies and African countries at the forum including digital technology company, Visa’s injecting of over $1 billion into Africa over the next five years to further expand the operations on the continent, including providing mobile payment services for more micro, small, and medium sized businesses across Africa.
“And most important this is just the beginning. There’s so much more we can do together and that we will do together,” he said.
JONATHAN DONKOR, WASHINGTON DC, USA