Calls for Opportunities: Part of the 2022 U.S. Chamber Trade Mission to West Africa

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The United States-Africa Business Center (USAfBC) recently concluded its first in-person meeting commercial trade mission in West Africa since the global pandemic. Between June 12 and 16, an American delegation led by Scott Eisner and Dr. Guevera Yao met with key government officials, private sector executives, and business leaders in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with the goal of deepening diplomatic trade relations between those countries and the United States.

The trade mission officially started in African CEO Forum, the largest international meeting of the African private sector, with more than 1,800 CEOs, heads of state and business leaders from across the continent. In collaboration with our subsidiary AmCham Côte d’Ivoire led by Mr. Yohannes Mekbebe, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a business roundtable with U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Don Graves and Ivory Coast Prime Minister Patrick Achi as keynote speakers. The roundtable consisted of panels focused on how best to strategically leverage the digital economy and harness agribusiness to unlock Africa’s economic transformation and was followed by bilateral meetings with public sectors and private sector to discuss U.S. private sector engagement with Côte d’Ivoire. Ivory and across Africa.

In his remarks, Hon. Don Graves highlighted the long history of the U.S.-Africa business partnership, the Biden administration’s priorities for engagement with Africa, and the importance of public-private cooperation.

The trade mission to Côte d’Ivoire was marked by the signing of a unique memorandum of understanding between the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Côte d’Ivoire, in order to devote more collaboration and trade links between countries.

The delegation organized a networking reception with the American and Ivorian business communities, working lunches with Ambassador Rick Bell, a bilateral meeting on Vice President of Ivory Coast and closed with a State dinner hosted by the Prime Minister.

The second half of the missions included a US-Ghana Business Forum organized by the US Africa Business Center of the US Chamber of Commerce, and AmCham Ghana, on the theme “Leveraging the ACFTA to Advance the U.S.-Africa Business Partnership”. Forum panels and discussions focused on partnership opportunities in digital and technology spaces and on modernizing and strengthening customs rules to better facilitate trade within the AfCFTA, with the aim of making businesses United States are Ghana’s main trading and investment partners.

In his introductory remarksUnder Secretary Graves officially announcement the US government’s commercial engagement plan for Africa called “ACES” (Africa Commercial Engagement Strategy). This ambitious plan would guide engagement with the U.S. and African private sectors, including transportation, health, energy, and digital infrastructure.

Keynote speaker, Honorable Ken Ofori Atta, Minister of Finance of Ghana, expressed his excitement to build on the strength of the United States and Ghana’s history and chart a new course to strengthen partnerships trade between the United States and Africa.

Scott Eisner, President of the US Africa Business Center, in his remarks, called for greater collaboration between the United States and Africa in the trade space with a focus on the digital economy, the engagement of the diaspora, the protection of intellectual property rights and the facilitation of investments. He announced new commitments under the Advance with Africa project aimed at promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the continent in the various states of the United States.

AmCham Ghana, led by Ms. Ayesha Bedwei and assisted by Mr. Simon Madjie, coordinated the delegation’s engagement with representatives of the AfCFTA Secretariat and a bilateral meeting with the Vice President of Ghana. The delegation also attended a high-level dinner with Ambassador Virginia Palmer, the new U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, and concluded with a reception hosted by Kosmos Energy for YALI Fellows.

The USAfBC particularly appreciates our main sponsors, ABD Group, Cybastion, Cargill, Delta, and our gold sponsors, Trimble, Tampico, PwC, Cummins, Standard Bank, Coca Cola and Kosmos Energy, as well as other participating companies, including Google, John Deere, ATC, Banco Prestígio, Bechtel, Deloitte, General Electric, Citi Bank, Genser Energy, Sonal, Wave, Red River, StoneX and the Texas-West Africa Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Chamber is grateful to all of the Ivorian and Ghanaian business and government leaders we have engaged on our trade mission – what we hope will be the first of many to Ivory Coast and Ghana. .

About the authors

Guevera Yao

Executive Director, West Central Africa, United States-Africa Business Center, United States Chamber of Commerce

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