USAID opens West African regional office for ATI Programme
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has opened a West African regional office for its Africa Trade and Investment (ATI) Programme in Accra, Ghana, as part of a strategy to shore up trade and investment between Africa and the US.
ATI, which is the USAID’s flagship programme to implement the US government’s Prosper Africa Initiative, is designed to enhance USAID’s ability to boost trade and investment to, from and within the African continent in collaboration with local partners.
The newly opened office, located at Labone, is the fourth and final regional programme office on the continent and would coordinate ongoing activities in countries, including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin, Niger and Liberia.
In Niger, the programme would address the food and security and resilience challenges by boosting Niger’s financial sector and enabling access to capital and inputs for farmers and advancing the commercial agricultural sector and agribusiness.
Announcing the opening of the office at a workshop in Accra, the USAID’s Trade Team Lead, Patterson Brown, said the new office would propel the expansion and impact of ATI throughout the region.
He said efforts by ATI were already yielding dividends in East and Southern Africa, where ATI has developed a portfolio of 136 trade and 46 investment deals and in the last quarter, the two regions have collectively closed 177 million in trade and 35 million investment deals.
“These trade and investment deals don’t have an impact just in terms of dollar amounts — they are helping businesses on the continent go further”, he said, citing other successes in Kenya and South Africa.
He said ATI in collaboration with the USAID Regional Mission was piloting a stock finance fund to increase the efficiency and value of agricultural trade across the region, as well as unlock private capital for 100 traders and increasing.
That, he said, would increase the incomes of 250,000 smallholder farmers who have been negatively impacted by recent food price volatility caused by COVID-19, climate change, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said an analysis was being conducted to understand local landscape and design trade and investment opportunities that would be responsive to local needs and constraints while building off lessons learned from across the continent.
The Managing Director of African Operations for Prosper Africa, Brinton Bohling, said with the changing dynamics in trade and investment, new tools, including trade hubs, were being developed to help advance businesses in Africa for mutual benefits.
In line with trade advancement, he said, Prosper Africa was leveraging the power of about 17 US agencies whose mandate fall within trade and finance towards the implementation of new projects across the continent.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR