Friday, September 23, 2016

New Malawian Ambassador to the U.S. Presents Letters of Credence at White House

Washington, DC
September 23, 2016

On Friday, September 16, 2016, the newest African Ambassador to the U.S. – His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi – presented his Letters of Credence to President Obama at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.

The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

President Obama Delivers Remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

President Obama Addresses U.S.-Africa Business Forum

Photo: VOA

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 21, 2016


Plaza Hotel
New York, New York

11:26 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, good morning, everybody! Let me begin by thanking Mayor Bloomberg — not just for the introduction but for the incredible work that Bloomberg Philanthropies is doing, not just in helping this event but for all the work that you’re doing in promoting entrepreneurship and development throughout Africa.

And I’d also like to thank our co-host, and a tremendous champion of investment and engagement in Africa — my great friend, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

I also want to welcome our partners from across Africa, including the many heads of state and government leaders who are with us. And I want to acknowledge Senator Chris Coons and leaders from across my administration, who share a profound commitment to expanding opportunity and deepening relationships between our countries.

Most importantly, I want to thank all of you — the business leaders, entrepreneurs, on both sides of the Atlantic, who are working very hard every single day to create jobs and to grow economies and to lift up our people.

Now, I gave a long speech yesterday. Some of you had to sit through it. I’m going to try to be a little more concise today. I’m here because, as the world gathers in New York City, we’re reminded that on so many key challenges that we face — our security, our prosperity, climate change, the struggle for human rights and human dignity, the reduction of conflict — Africa is essential to our progress. Africa’s rise is not just important to Africa, it’s important to the entire world.

Yes, too many people across the continent still face conflict and hunger and disease. And, yes, recent years have brought some stiff economic headwinds. And we have to be relentless in our efforts to end conflicts, and improve security and promote justice. At the same time, the broader trajectory of Africa is unmistakable. Thanks to many of you, Africa is on the move — home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world and a middle class projected to grow to more than a billion customers. An Africa of telecom companies and clean-tech startups and Silicon savannahs, all powered by the youngest population anywhere on the planet.

As President, I’ve worked to transform our relationship with Africa so that we’re working together, as equal partners. I’m proud to be the first American President to visit sub-Saharan Africa four times; the first to visit Ethiopia and speak before the African Union; the first to visit Kenya — which I think was obligatory. I would have been in trouble if I hadn’t done that. (Laughter.) I believe I’m also the first American President to dance the Lipala in Nairobi — or to try to dance the Lipala.

And wherever I’ve gone, from Senegal to South Africa, Africans insist they do not just want aid, they want trade. They want partners, not patrons. They want to do business and grow businesses, and create value and companies that will last and that will help to build a great future for the continent. And the United States is determined to be that partner — for the long term — to accelerate the next era of African growth for all Africans.

And that’s why, over the past eight years, we’ve dramatically expanded our economic engagement. With your support, we renewed the African Growth and Opportunity Act for another decade, giving African nations unprecedented access to American markets. We launched Trade Africa, so that African countries can sell goods and services more easily across borders — both within Africa and with the United States. We created Doing Business in Africa campaign to help American businesses — including small businesses — pursue opportunities across Africa. And under Penny’s leadership, nearly 300 American companies have taken trade missions to Africa, with more than 8,000 African buyers attending U.S. trade shows.

If you are an African entrepreneur or an American entrepreneur looking for more support, more capital, more technical assistance, there has never been a better time to partner with the United States. Commitments from the Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency have doubled. OPIC investments have tripled. Nearly 70 percent of Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts are now with African countries. And we’ve opened up and expanded new trade and investment offices, from Ghana to Mozambique. Through our landmark Power Africa initiative, the United States is mobilizing more than 130 public and private sector partners — and over $52 billion — to double electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.

Meanwhile, our Global Entrepreneurship Summits in Morocco and Kenya and our Young African Leaders Initiative are giving nearly 300,000 talented, striving young Africans the tools and networks to become the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future. We’ve got some of those outstanding young people here today. And two years ago, I welcomed many of you to our first ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum, where we announced billions of dollars in new trade and investment between our countries.

And you can see the results. American investment in Africa is up 70 percent. U.S. exports to Africa have surged. Iconic companies — FedEx, Kellogg’s, Google — are growing their presence on the continent. You can hail an Uber in Lagos or Kampala. In the two years since our last forum, American and African companies have concluded deals worth nearly $15 billion, which will support African development across the board, from manufacturing to health care to renewable energy. Microsoft and Mawingu Networks are partnering to provide low-cost broadband to rural Kenyans. Procter & Gamble is expanding a plant in South Africa. MasterCard will work with Ethiopian banks so that more Ethiopians can send home remittances.

These are all serious commitments. New relationships are being forged, and I’m pleased that, altogether, the deals and commitments being announced at this forum add up to more than $9 billion in trade and investment with Africa.

So we are making progress, but we’re just scratching the surface. We have so much more work that can be done and will be done. The fact is that, despite significant growth in much of the continent, Africa’s entire GDP is still only about the GDP of France. Only a fraction of American exports — about 2 percent — go to Africa. So there’s still so much untapped potential. And I may only be in this office for a few more months, but let me suggest a few areas where we need to focus in the years ahead.

We have to keep increasing the trade that creates broad-based growth. In East Africa alone, our new trade hubs have supported 29,000 jobs and helped increase exports to the United States by over a third. So we need to keep working to integrate African economies, diversify African exports, and bring down barriers at the borders. Since we’re approaching two decades since AGOA was first passed, we’re releasing a report today exploring the future beyond AGOA, with trade agreements that are even more enduring and reciprocal.

We also have to keep making it easier to do business in Africa. We know progress is possible. A decade ago, if you wanted to start a business in Kenya, it took, on average, 54 days. Today, it takes less than half that. And governments that make additional reforms and cut red tape will have a partner in the United States.

At our last forum, I announced the creation of our Presidential Advisory Council to guide our work together. And today, I’m pleased to welcome the newest members of our expanded council, so that more industries and insights can shape their recommendations. Feel free to find them later, bend their ear. Don’t be shy. They are excited about their work and excited to hear from you.

We also need to invest more in the infrastructure that is the foundation of future prosperity. And, as I indicated earlier, we’re especially focused on increasing access to electricity for the two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africans who lack it. Three years after launching Power Africa, we’re seeing real progress — solar power and natural gas in Nigeria; off-grid energy in Tanzania; people in rural Rwanda gaining electricity. This means that students can study at night and businesses can stay open. And we are not going to let up. Partners like the World Bank and the African Development Bank are mobilizing billions.

Last month, the government of Japan made a major commitment to support this work. And together with GE, today we’re launching a public-private partnership to support energy enterprises managed by women in Africa. So we’re on our way, and by 2030, I believe we can bring electricity to more than 60 million African homes and businesses. And that will be transformative.

But even if we do the infrastructure, even if we’re passing more business-friendly laws, even if we’re increasing trade, I think all of you know that we’re also going to have to keep promoting the good governance that allows for good business. Graft, cronyism, corruption — it stifles growth, scares off investment. A business should begin with a handshake and not a shakedown. (Applause.) So through our efforts like our Open Government Partnership, and our Partnership on Illicit Finance, we’re going to keep working to encourage transparency, stamp out corruption and uphold the rule of law. That’s what’s going to ultimately attract trade and investment and opportunity.

The truth is, is that those governments that are above-board and transparent, people want to do business there. People don’t want to do business in places where the rules are constantly changing depending on who’s up, who’s down, whose cousin is who. It creates the kinds of risks that scare investors away.

And finally, we need to invest more in Africa’s most precious resource, and that is its people, especially young people. Men and women; boys and girls. I’ve had the opportunity to meet the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs — in Soweto and Dar es Salaam and Dakar. I’ve welcomed many of them to the White House. They are spectacular. They are itching to make a difference. Their passion is inspiring. Their talent is unmatched. They are hungry for knowledge and information, and are willing to take risks. And many of them, because they’ve come from tough circumstances, by definition they’re entrepreneurial. They’ve had to make a way out of no way, and are resilient and resourceful.

So we got to continue to empower these aspiring leaders — give them the tools, the training and the support so that a few years from now, they can be sitting in this room. Because if Africa’s young people flourish, if they are getting education, if they are getting opportunity, I’m absolutely convinced that Africa will flourish as well.

And they are the future leaders that inspire me. I think of the Rwandan entrepreneur I met earlier this year at one of our entrepreneurship summits. His company is turning biomass into energy. He started his business when he was 19 years old. And a lot of folks didn’t get what he was doing or why. He made an interesting comment that sometimes in traditional cultures, in African cultures, the working assumption is, is that young people don’t know anything. And since we were in Silicon Valley when he was telling this story, I wanted to point out that folks in Africa may want to rethink that — because if you’re over 30 there, you’re basically over the hill. (Laughter.)

But he kept at it. As he told me, “No matter what you’re trying to do,” you need the “motive in your mind that you want to help your society move forward.” He was doing well, but he was also trying to do good.

And that’s what this is all about. That’s the work that we’ve got to carry on. This is a U.S.-Africa business forum. This is not charity. All of you should be wanting to make money, and create great products and great services, and be profitable, and do right by your investors. But the good news is, in Africa, right now, if you are doing well, you can also be doing a lot of good. And if we keep that in mind, if we do more to buy from each other and sell from each other, if we do more to bring down barriers to doing business, if we do more to strengthen infrastructure and innovation and governance, I know we’re going to be able to move our societies and economies forward. And that will be good not just for Africa, but it will be good for the United States and good for the world.

We want Africa as a booming, growing, thriving market, where we can do business, where you’ve got a young population that is surging. And although this will be the last time I participate in the U.S-Africa Business Forum as President, I think you should anticipate that I will be continuing to work with all of you in the years to come, and I know that Penny has done a great job in working to institutionalize these efforts. And when we’ve got great partners like Mike Bloomberg and the Bloomberg Foundation involved in this, I have no doubt that this is just going to keep on growing, and we’re going to look back and say, we were on to something.

Thank you so much, everybody. Appreciate it. Keep up the great work. (Applause.)


11:42 A.M. EDT

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Delivers Opening Remarks at U.S.-Africa Business Forum

Photo: Penny Pritzker | Twitter

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Delivers Opening Remarks at U.S.-Africa Business Forum

09/21/2016 10:10 AM EDT

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker opened the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum alongside her co-host for the event, the Honorable Michael Bloomberg. Founder of Bloomberg L.P. & Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City.

Building on the success of the 2014 Forum, this year’s event once again brought together African heads of state and private sector CEOs from the United States and Africa to celebrate the partnerships and innovations that have led to deepened business relationships and to discuss the exciting potential for further collaboration.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mike, for your leadership and your friendship. It’s been wonderful for the Department of Commerce to partner again with Bloomberg Philanthropies to organize this amazing forum. I want to extend a special welcome to all of our distinguished guests visiting from across the United States and Africa. Mayor Bloomberg and I share a core belief that the private sector – including many of you here today – is a powerful force for progress around the world.

Your businesses, your partnerships, and your investments have helped to solve problems across the African continent and generate prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. In the process, you have strengthened the economic partnership between the United States and nations across Africa.

Deepening these commercial ties remains a top priority for the Obama Administration. Since the last Forum, our Power Africa initiative has helped fuel power generation projects that are essential for economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa. Trade Africa has increased trade both within the continent and between Africa and the world. And we have extended the African Growth and Opportunity Act for another ten years, which will help more African products reach American customers duty-free.

But government efforts alone are not sufficient. If we are going to grow the U.S.-Africa relationship, the business community is an essential partner.

We all know that, over the two years since the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, economic growth has slowed across the globe. Volatile markets and the drop in commodity prices have negatively affected many African countries in the short-run, highlighting the need for greater economic diversification. But Africa’s long-term prospects remain strong, and investing in the continent’s future continues to be good business.

In fact, these global headwinds make it even more important that all of us – in government and in business – redouble our shared commitment to solving problems, building new partnerships, promoting further regional integration, and finding new ways to plug all Africans into the global economy. Today is an opportunity to showcase how existing partnerships are already transforming our economic relationship, to celebrate the new deals and investments announced this week, and to shine a spotlight on opportunities for us to continue to work together.

Fact Sheet: U.S.-East African Heads of State and CEO Roundtable

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum’s East Africa Heads of State Roundtable
Photo: Department of Commerce

On September 20th, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker chaired a roundtable with East African Heads of State and CEOs focused on advancing regional economic integration and opportunities in the travel and tourism, agribusiness technology, and infrastructure sectors. The meeting resulted in agreement on significant new steps to expand collaboration in these three important areas.

Secretary Pritzker and their Excellencies Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Tanzanian Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga agreed to launch a Travel and Tourism Dialogue, scale a digital platform on agriculture across East Africa, and work toward convening an Infrastructure Summit.

I. U.S.-East Africa Travel and Tourism Dialogue

The impact of the travel and tourism sector on the economic and social development of a country can be enormous. Given the significance of the sector to our overall economies, the East African leaders and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State agreed to launch an annual rotating U.S.-East Africa Travel and Tourism Dialogue to promote East Africa as a top global travel and tourism destination and support the growth of new partnership opportunities for U.S. and East African companies in this sector. The Travel and Tourism Dialogue would: (1) promote and expand business opportunities; (2) deepen regional integration and cooperation in travel and tourism across East Africa; and (3) strengthen people-to-people ties. Each year the dialogue will be co-hosted by one of the East African countries.

II. Agribusiness Technology

Agriculture remains the backbone of many African economies, but the sector has not reached its full potential. For example, post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables can exceed 35 percent in many supply chains because they perish before they reach the market. Solving the transportation challenge through technology, including temperature-controlled supply chain, or “cold chain,” can help reduce these losses and capitalize on existing infrastructure by providing more immediate access to markets. The Commerce Department, IBM and the Global Cold Chain Alliance are exploring the development of a scalable digital marketplace pilot that will be accessible via smart and feature phones, that instantly connects farmers and buyers to transporters with cold chain capabilities. During today’s roundtable, the East African leaders agreed to launch the pilot in Kenya and scale it across the other East African countries. At the same time, they recognized that a more holistic approach to agribusiness development is necessary. As a result, Secretary Pritzker tasked the U.S. Department of Commerce to work with partner agencies to develop a comprehensive and data driven approach to address production, productivity and value added challenges.

III. Infrastructure Summit

Interconnected infrastructure is essential to realizing East Africa’s economic potential, and would significantly improve regional integration and the growth of intra-regional and global trade. Today, the East African leaders and the Department of Commerce agreed to work together to address challenges in building large-scale infrastructure, with the goal of convening an Infrastructure Summit with U.S. investors and companies across the infrastructure value chain focused on specific projects in the critical areas of electricity, transport and water infrastructure. As a first step before proceeding with the Summit, East African leaders and Secretary Pritzker agreed it would be valuable to convene a meeting with ministers and technical experts to build the capacity of East African government officials to develop bankable, feasible projects.

Roundtable Participants

His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda
His Excellency William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya
His Excellency Augustine Mahiga, Foreign Minister of Tanzania
Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Martin H. Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO, AGCO
Andrew Patterson, President of Africa Division, Bechtel Group, Inc.
Vimal Shah, CEO, Bidco Africa Ltd.
James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director, Equity Bank
Tewolde GebreMariam Tesfay, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines
Sara Menker, Founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence
Takreem El-Tohamy, General Manager, Middle East & Africa, IBM
Carole Kariuki, CEO, Kenya Private Sector Alliance
Mohammed Dewji, CEO, Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL)
Stephen Douglas Cashin, CEO, Pan African Capital Group LLC
Willy Foote, Founder & CEO, Root Capital
John Mirenge, CEO, RwandAir
Tom Klein, President & CEO, Sabre Corporation
Patrick Bitature, Chairman, Simba Group of Companies
Kenneth S. Siegel, EVP, CAO and General Counsel, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Sean Klimczak, Senior Managing Director, The Blackstone Group
Stephen Hayes, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Corporate Council on Africa
Corey Rosenbusch, President & CEO, the Global Cold Chain Alliance

Fact Sheet: U.S.-Africa Cooperation on Trade and Investment Under the Obama Administration

Office of the Press Secretary
September 21, 2016

Fact Sheet: U.S.-Africa Cooperation on Trade and Investment Under the Obama Administration

Africa’s immense economic potential, increasing integration into global markets, expanding infrastructure, and demographic boom provide a remarkable opportunity to enhance U.S. trade and investment ties across the continent. African countries are tackling economic challenges by diversifying their economies, streamlining regional and global economic cooperation, and innovating to overcome barriers to trade and investment. The United States is committed to being a partner in these efforts, including through initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, Power Africa, and Trade Africa. Taking into account these and other efforts, at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF) co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and Bloomberg Philanthropies, $33 billion in commitments, including $14 billion in private sector deals and commitments, were made to support economic growth across Africa. Over the last two years, Commerce has tracked nearly $15 billion in additional private sector deals reached between U.S. and African partners, and from 2008 to 2015 U.S. direct investment in Africa rose from $37 billion to $64 billion on a historic-cost basis – an increase of more than 70 percent. That’s more than double the total global official development assistance that went to Africa in 2015. ‎Today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum builds upon the partnerships created in 2014 with new commitments to mobilize an additional $9.1 billion in trade and investment to support the development of Africa’s consumer goods, construction, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation sectors.

The U.S. Government has Expanded its Presence and Economic Engagement in Africa

Since 2008, Commerce has doubled its presence on the continent, opening new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, expanding its presence in Ghana, and re-establishing a presence at the African Development Bank. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has opened an office in Nigeria and restarted work in Kenya, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) opened offices in Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has deployed more than 40 field-based transaction advisors in sub-Saharan Africa to track projects for potential Power Africa support and to provide technical support to improve the enabling environment for private sector investment in the energy sector.

In addition to expanding their physical presence, economic and development agencies have significantly expanded their portfolios on the continent:

o OPIC has tripled its portfolio in Africa since 2009, and investments in Africa now represent nearly a third of OPIC’s total portfolio. OPIC has committed more than $7 billion in financing and insurance to projects in Africa, and these commitments have mobilized more than $14 billion in additional investments into highly impactful sectors in Africa like clean energy, telecom, healthcare, education, and microfinance.
o USTDA has more than doubled the size of its Africa portfolio in the last eight years, supporting 135 projects across 14 countries. This early-stage investment, which has the potential to mobilize more than $17 billion in private and public financing, has already helped to realize $2.5 billion in U.S. exports.
o From 2009-2016, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) authorizations doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa as compared to the previous eight-year period, and rose across all of Africa by 45 percent. In the past five years EXIM Bank has approved more than $6.3 billion in financing for U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, including a record $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2014.
o Twenty of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC’s) signed compacts are with African countries, totaling $7.9 billion and representing approximately 68 percent of MCC’s total compact portfolio. In addition, 11 of MCC’s threshold programs are with African countries, totaling more than $203 million.
o Since 2008, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) commitment to Africa has grown with entry into 8 new countries. USADF has opened African-led program offices in each country, with African country teams that manage nearly $25 million active projects
o The Department of the Treasury has committed to double resources for the domestic resource mobilization work of the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) by 2020, which will expand support for building effective revenue and expenditure systems. OTA has increasingly focused on Africa, with projects in sub-Saharan Africa making up approximately one third of its portfolio.

The Administration has Expanded Access to U.S. Government Tools that Support Our Trade and Investment with Africa

The U.S. Government, across a dozen Departments and Agencies, offers a suite of financial and technical tools and programs to support U.S. businesses looking to trade with and invest in Africa, including financing for overseas investments; export credit and political risk insurance; partial loan and risk guarantees; support for project preparation, feasibility studies and training; and export counseling and market analysis. Diplomatic engagement by the State Department also supports American firms and promotes host government reforms that improve investment environments.

In 2012, the Administration launched the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign to help make the U.S. Government’s resources more easily available to the U.S. private sector and African public and private sector partners. At the 2014 Forum, the President announced the formation of an Advisory Council on DBIA to provide information, analysis, and recommendations on opportunities for the U.S. Government to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and in Africa by encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa. Today, the President welcomed the new members of the Advisory Council on DBIA, which was expanded from 15 to 24 members to ensure a more robust representation across U.S. industries.

Since the DBIA Campaign was launched in 2012, Commerce has assisted more than 1,500 U.S. clients seeking to export to African countries. Since 2009, Commerce’s International Buyer Program has helped bring 522 delegations and 8,123 buyers from Africa to U.S. trade shows, and Commerce has taken 283 U.S. companies on trade missions to Africa. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency has sponsored the African Global Pathways initiative, which provides minority-owned firms access to expert consulting services that promote U.S.-Africa business linkages. USTDA has hosted African government and business leaders on more than 40 reverse trade missions to the United States since 2008 – helping to generate over $135 million in U.S. exports to Africa. OPIC has also led investor delegations to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal to identify ripe opportunities and encourage investment, and MCC conducted its first ever investment mission to Tanzania and Malawi. Earlier this week, the Department of Commerce and leaders from East Africa announced new steps they plan to take to support tourism, cold chain development, and infrastructure in that region. At the USABF, Commerce and the Nigerian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment are announcing the establishment of the U.S.-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue to sustain engagement between our governments and private sectors in order to promote deeper trade and investment ties between the United States and Nigeria.

The U.S. government is also working to make it easier for U.S. companies to invest and work in Africa. The Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to work with African governments to improve transportation infrastructure, modernize laws and regulations governing transportation, reduce technical barriers to trade through harmonization of standards, and improve regional connectivity. Under the Safe Skies for Africa program, DOT has completed more than 100 training courses and workshops to facilitate African aviation professional’s exposure and adherence to international aviation standards. And today, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $100 million in credit guarantees available to establish or upgrade facilities or infrastructure in Africa and elsewhere, enhancing countries’ ability to import U.S. agricultural commodities.

In addition to in-person resources, departments and agencies are expanding access to online resources. Commerce launched a One-Stop-Shop website to offer American businesses and entrepreneurs real-time access to critical African market information, financing tools available to them, projects to consider, and key contacts. The Department of Energy (DOE) developed the online “Clean Energy Solutions Center,” which connects policymakers in Africa with experts and best practice resources to help governments design and adopt policies that support the deployment of clean energy technologies, including by harmonizing these policies with countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. DOE also brought together world class industry experts and emerging natural gas producers and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa to create a “Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Handbook,” which will help foster a shared understanding between government officials and private companies of the factors that lead to successful LNG projects. Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program and the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) African Legal Support Facility released two handbooks under the auspices of Power Africa that are helping to strengthen the capacity of African governments to negotiate fair and transparent power deals. Today, MCC launched a new collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to catalyze investment in the developing world by sharing economic analysis and identifying potential partnerships and investment opportunities.

Through Power Africa, launched in 2013, the U.S. Government and a coalition of more than 130 public and private sector partners are working to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. At the 2014 USABF, the President pledged new funding to expand Power Africa’s reach to all of sub-Saharan Africa, and announced a new aggregate goal of adding 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new, cleaner electricity and increasing electricity access by at least 60 million new connections. Power Africa is providing support for projects expected to generate more than 29,000 MW, and this support has already helped transactions expected to generate more than 4,600 MW of generation reach financial close. Through the combined efforts of Power Africa’s strategic partners, including the World Bank Group, the AfDB, the European Union, and the Governments of Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada, Power Africa is on track to meet its goals by 2030. In August 2016, Power Africa announced a new partnership with the Government of Japan, through which Japan committed to bring 1,200 MW of electricity to sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2018. To date, Power Africa’s initial $7 billion commitment has mobilized more than $52 billion in additional external commitments, including more than $40 billion in private sector commitments to invest in power generation and distribution across sub-Saharan Africa.

By demonstrating that renewable power transactions are financially viable, improving the performance of utilities, changing the regulatory mind-set on renewables, and harmonizing policies to drive investment and stability, Power Africa is also playing a critical role in advancing affordable, reliable, and modern energy services and substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa – which currently represents three quarters of the projects Power Africa is supporting. Through the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) Initiative, OPIC and USTDA have provided critical early-stage project preparation support for 34 renewable energy projects in ten African countries. Already, 15 ACEF projects have secured project financing, which is leading to increased power generation capacity and expanded access to electricity. For example, since receiving ACEF funding from OPIC in 2013, Off-Grid Electric has expanded solar energy provision in Tanzania from 2,000 households to more than 100,000. A grant from the USTDA to Rwandan company Amahoro Energy Ltd. to develop two run-of river hydropower plants helped open up Rwanda’s hydropower sector to eight other projects, in addition to providing electricity to the Shyira Hospital and 22,500 households in rural Rwanda. Power Africa has also facilitated the signing of 14 Independent Power Purchase Agreements to develop 1,125 MW of new solar power in Nigeria, and through a partnership with Lekela Power, OPIC will support the development, construction and operation of a 158.7 MW wind farm in Senegal, which will boost Senegal’s generation capacity by nearly a quarter and provide a critical foundation for its power generation and sustainable energy growth plan. Through the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, in partnership with GE Africa, USADF has awarded 50 grants totaling an investment of $5 million to African energy entrepreneurs who have leveraged their awards to bring electricity, from solar micro-grids to biogas, to rural communities living beyond the grid. Today, the USADF announced 21 new Off-Grid Energy Challenge grant winners and launched a new partnership with GE Africa focused on African women-owned and managed energy enterprises.

The Trade Africa initiative, launched in 2013, has helped countries boost trade within Africa and between Africa and the United States, while reducing barriers to trade across borders on the continent. Trade Africa has expanded to five additional countries, in addition to its original focus on the Partner States of the East African Community (EAC). Since 2014, USAID regional Trade and Investment Hubs in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa have facilitated more than $283 million in African exports to the United States and $140 million in U.S. investment in Africa. The East Africa Hub has supported 29,000 new African jobs, and exports facilitated by the Hub has contributed to the 36 percent increase in EAC exports to the United States between 2013 and 2015. Trade Africa has helped reduce cross-border transit times from key East African ports to land-locked interior destinations by as much as 80 percent – exceeding the initiative’s 15 percent target – through its contribution to and leadership in the TradeMark East Africa initiative and the Hub’s efforts to establish partner government joint border committees, support the development of “single windows” for traders to file paperwork, and facilitate the adoption of electronic data exchange systems. Trade Africa has also facilitated successful policy dialogues on trade and investment issues, including an agreement to cooperate on World Trade Organization trade facilitation measures and enhancing food safety.

Today, USAID issued two reports on behalf of the Administration that highlight progress to date under the Trade Africa and Power Africa initiatives. The Power Africa Annual Report complements the January 2016 Power Africa Roadmap, which describes the initiative’s path to achieving its ambitious access goals by 2030. The Trade Africa Annual Report highlights the most significant impacts this initiative has had on trade between African countries and between Africa and the United States. In addition, USTR issued a report entitled “Beyond AGOA: Looking at the Future of U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment”, which considers paths to deepen the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship, keeping pace with dramatic change in Africa.

The United States is Supporting the Next Generation of African Leaders and Makers

The United States also recognizes the role that young people play in supporting economic growth, including through entrepreneurship. Africa’s large and growing youth population is central to achieving and maintaining Africa’s robust economic growth. That is why the United States has held two Global Entrepreneurship Summits (GES) in Africa – in Morocco in 2014 and in Kenya in 2015 – showcasing the innovation and economic opportunities of both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through the GES, the U.S. Government has mobilized more than $1 billion in capital for entrepreneurs across Africa and around the world. At the 2015 GES, USAID, the United Kingdom, and the Shell Foundation, under the auspices of Power Africa, launched the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development, a $36 million investment to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. As part of the Grand Challenge, USAID partnered with DOE and the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership to launch a refrigeration prize that will leverage $300,000 to catalyze technological advancements in off-grid refrigeration.

Since 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has engaged nearly 300,000 young Africans through the YALI Network, an online and in-person community of entrepreneurs, activists, and public servants working together to solve shared challenges for their continent and the world. Since 2014, two thousand young people have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellows program, and thousands more have joined seminars and workshops at the four YALI Regional Leadership Centers in Accra, Dakar, Nairobi, and Pretoria. The USADF has committed $7.5 million over three years to fund YALI entrepreneurs who are launching and expanding their businesses and social ventures across Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows were able to join the first sector-specific YALI training program at the YALI Energy Institute, a collaboration between USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California at Davis.

The United States is Combatting Corruption at Home and Abroad

We have also committed to continue and expand efforts combat to corruption at home and abroad, as we recognize corruption’s pernicious effects on inclusive economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development, as well as the obstacle that it continues to represent as we seek to grow trade and investment. In 2014, President Obama announced the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF) at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, an initiative co-led by the United States and Senegal that brings together African partners and the United States to jointly tackle the challenges of corruption and other financial crimes. This May, the United States launched its PIF National Action Plan, along with Senegal. The remaining six PIF partners are working to develop their plans, and we look forward to those plans being released soon. We are also working together to combat corruption and to increase transparency and accountability in the region through the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Participation from African countries in OGP is growing, and OGP can play an important role in addressing common governance challenges across the continent, including by engaging civil society and building trust in government. In addition, in May 2016, President Obama announced several important steps we are taking in the United States to strengthen financial transparency, combat money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, and called upon Congress to take additional action to address these critical issues.


Op-Ed on Africa by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Michael R. Bloomberg

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Op-Ed: Africa Could Be the Great Economic Success of This Century

By Penny Pritzker and Michael R. Bloomberg

Over the last eight years, America has written a new chapter in our relationship with Africa. Under President Obama’s leadership, we have worked to transition our support for the continent from aid to trade and empowerment. We have started to build a full, equal, advanced economic partnership — a partnership that holds as much promise for African countries as it does for America. This week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum is a key component of that new partnership.

Africa is primed to be one of the great economic success stories of this century. Incomes are rising. Investments in infrastructure and technology are accelerating growth across a range of industries. Africa today is home to 700 companies with revenues greater than $500 million. Consumer spending is on track to climb to $1 trillion over the next four years. The workforce is projected to be the largest on the planet by 2040. The continent could make up a quarter of the global economy by the year 2050.

African markets are also poised to benefit from several long-term trends, including the fastest-growing middle class in the world, an expanding urban population, and increasing access to mobile technology and the internet. By the end of this century, some estimates predict that 40 percent of the world’s youth will be African, which would be an unprecedented concentration of young consumers.

Today, on both sides of the Atlantic, there is a clear desire to deepen our ties of trade and investment. Doing so will spur growth and support new jobs across both the U.S. and the countries of Africa. But with only 2% of total U.S. exports going to Africa, we still have a long way to go before we fully realize the promise and potential of our economic relationship.

The U.S.-Africa Business Forum was created two years ago to accelerate our progress in realizing that potential. The forum brings together heads of states and business leaders for a conversation focused on strengthening our commercial ties. So far, the results of this dialogue have exceeded our expectations.

Today, the billions in investments that were announced during the 2014 forum are on track to be completed — investments in everything from manufacturing and worker training to clean energy and IT modernization. There have also been private-sector deals in aviation, banking, construction and transportation. In addition, the Department of Commerce has doubled its presence in Africa to better serve American firms looking to access markets and create business partnerships, and last September conducted the largest trade mission to Africa in the history of our country.

At this year’s forum, the scope of that progress has widened to include billions more in new partnerships and investments in areas critical to Africa’s future, like technology and the digital economy. Investments in thermal and wind power in Senegal, urban solar farms in South Africa, TV white space and low-cost bandwidth to rural areas of Kenya, and the building of a metro-fiber network in Liberia are just some of the exciting announcements being made this week.

Other programs are helping to spur these and other new investments. The Commerce Department’s Power Africa initiative has helped fuel power-generation projects that are essential for economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa. Trade Africa has increased trade both within the continent and between Africa and the world. And the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act for another 10 years will help more African products reach American customers duty-free.

At this year’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, we look forward to laying the groundwork for the next chapter — one that sees our commercial connections deepen and our trade partnerships mature. With every deal signed and every investment made, we build bridges between our businesses, we open new lines of communication between our governments, and we create new opportunities for our citizens.