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  August 7th, 2018 | Written by

Ross announces $1 billion in deals during Africa mission

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  • Ross signed MOU with Ghana minister of finance to deepen the commercial partnership between the two nations.
  • Under Secretary of Commerce signed cooperative agreements with the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.
  • Ross: African countries are improving their business climates.

United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and a delegation from the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) announced over $1 billion in private-sector deals during their mission to four sub-Saharan nations in July.

The four-nation visit, which included stops in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Côte D’Ivoire, concluded in Ghana where Ross signed a memorandum of understanding with the Minister of Finance to deepen the commercial partnership between the two nations. On previous stops, Under Secretary of Commerce Gilbert Kaplan signed cooperative agreements with the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.

“The United States is making real progress in Africa, and we remain a strong, long-term, and stable partner in the continent’s economic development,” said Ross. “It’s clear US companies want to grow their businesses in Africa, and these countries can facilitate that by improving their business climates, thereby enabling the growth of the digital economy, agriculture, health care, energy, manufacturing, and service sectors. We are finding solutions to transition aid-based economies to trade-based economies by creating new pathways for mutually beneficial long-term partnerships.”

In Ghana, Ross led the US delegation in meetings with President Nana Akufo-Addo, Minister of Trade Alan Kyerematan, Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko, and Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta. Kaplan led the delegation in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Côte D’Ivoire, meeting with heads of state, senior government officials, business leaders, and US companies already doing business in those markets.

The delegation also met with officials at the African Development Bank to better understand how and where the bank is providing financing throughout the continent. This financing is a key tool for US companies as they seek procurement contracts.

Cooperation agreements signed during the trip with Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana identify priority projects in key sectors that help achieve long-term growth and development. The US will share that information with US companies that can undertake those projects, as well as identify US government resources, such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, the US Trade and Development Agency, and US African Development Foundation, among others to support US private sector participation.

The cooperation agreements also establish a forum for the governments to address and resolve business climate issues that prevent greater participation by US companies seeking to invest or do business in the three countries.

The PAC-DBIA will use the collected information and first-hand experiences to develop reliable and actionable recommendations for President Donald Trump to resolve issues related to underdeveloped capital markets, non-transparent and price-based procurement processes, and workforce development.

Chaired by Ross, the PAC-DBIA advises the president on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.