Held in New York City during the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, the U.S.-Africa Business Forum brings together African heads of state with CEOs of U.S. and African companies to strengthen commercial and financial ties between the United States and Africa. The Forum focuses on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in sectors like finance and capital investment, infrastructure, power and energy, agriculture, consumer goods, health care, and information communication technology.
For the dialogue that starts at such forums to really become an ongoing and meaningful one, it has to be nourished daily. The new service by AMA will enable an environment that will sustain the mutual interest between American and African partners.
"The biggest gap we need to bridge today between U.S. business and Africa is by no means a geographic one," said Eloine Barry, Chief Executive Officer, AMA. "Today, we're taking our next step as the leader of press release distribution within Africa to bridge the information gap between Africa and its largest potential business partner: the United States. What a business needs is a reliable source for the gathering and dissemination of information, and this is exactly what we deliver"
As President Obama mentioned in Ethiopia last summer, "Africa's progress will depend on unleashing economic growth, not just for the few at the top, but for the many, because an essential element of dignity is being able to live a decent life. That begins with a job. And that requires trade and investment."
The American private sector continues to be eager to increase its commercial connection to African economies, while the focus continues to shift the relationship from one based on aid to one based on trade. Meanwhile, while the global investment map remains highly volatile for American investments to say the least, African markets hold many untapped opportunities for U.S. investors and companies.
While many formal and informal bodies are being established to promote business and investment between the United States and the African continent, the U.S.-Africa Business Distribution channel serves as a neutral, trusted intermediary connecting the shapers of the public opinion between the two sides of the continent.
Barry added: "The message from the U.S. business community is clear: Africa is a rapidly growing region with great opportunity for investment and trade. The U.S.-Africa Business Distribution will provide companies a vehicle to promote commerce and investment in Africa and increase business engagement between Africa and the U.S. In addition to providing information dissemination."
As a testament to the growing importance of the U.S.-Africa relations, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that it has doubled its presence in sub-Saharan Africa over the past year, by opening new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, while expanding its operations in Ghana, and re-establishing a position at the African Development Bank. It also supported 16 private sector deals in Africa worth approximately $7 billion, with $4.1 billion in U.S. export content.
Since the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit, the U.S. Agency for International Development's Trade Hubs have facilitated nearly $220 million in African exports and $75 million in local investment under Trade Africa, while working with local governments and regional economic communities to meet WTO commitments, establish the framework for national single window and trade information portals, and modernize customs procedures. Over the next five years the Trade and Investment Hubs in East and West Africa are expected to facilitate over $200 million in new investments and foster the creation of 37,000 jobs.