Guest blog post by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted an event showing that Africa is one of the world’s next great sources of economic growth.
The first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum brought together American and African business leaders with the heads of nearly 50 African nations to exchange ideas and create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment.
And this was not just an academic discussion. We built the kind of relationships that will help usher in a new level of success for the growing economies and businesses of Africa, as well as spur real gains for U.S. companies.
Several American companies, among others, announced new partnerships in Africa, resulting in multi-million and multi-billion dollar deals:
- IBM signed a deal to provide IT services to the Fidelity Bank of Ghana;
- Blackstone plans to invest in African energy projects;
- Coca-Cola will partner with Africa to bring clean water to its communities;
- Marriott will build more hotels on the continent; and,
- GE will help build African infrastructure, investing $2 billion to develop its supply chain, train employees, and improve sustainability in Africa.
Also, as part of the White House’s Power Africa initiative—which pledges to invest $7 billion and create an additional 10,000 megawatts of cleaner electricity over the next five years— American company Contour Global secured a $120 million contract to rehabilitate an existing Senegalese power site and construct a new one. That deal will provide another 53 megawatts of electricity to Senegal’s citizens.
As excited as my colleagues and I are about these deals, contract signings weren’t the only highlights of the forum.