More than 100 U.S. companies are in South Africa this week as part of the largest U.S. government-led trade mission to Africa in history.
After visiting South Africa many of the U.S. companies will continue on in smaller groups to other countries across the continent. Seven of the most prominent are expected to visit Kenya.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Winds-Africa mission brought companies from 25 U.S. states and across industry sectors to connect with opportunities throughout the continent.
The mission is part of a concerted effort under the President Obama administration called the Doing Business in Africa campaign, under which the U.S. government has committed billions of dollars to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has facilitated billions more in U.S.-Africa business deals.
“Africa is on the forefront of an economic emergence that will shape the world’s business environment for years to come,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte. “The United States and the U.S. business community see Africa as an important partner.”
Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is inviting for foreign companies, as it hosts six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, but what draws U.S. companies especially to Africa is the opportunity to make a difference as well as increase revenue.
“American companies are innovative and produce quality goods and services, but what really separates most of them is a desire to make an impact,” said U.S. Regional Senior Commercial Officer Donald Nay, who works out of the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg. “U.S. companies leave behind trained workforces and improved infrastructure, among other benefits.
“The U.S. commitment to corporate social responsibility is difficult to match in global business.”
At each mission stop, the U.S. companies meet with government leaders and potential business partners already based in Africa. All companies participating in the mission were vetted by U.S. Embassy staff to make sure their goods or services were appropriate for each market.
“We want to make sure that the companies we bring to Africa are appropriate for the market,” said Nay. “That’s both for the sake of the American company and for the countries we visit.”
The Commerce Department and Embassy team expects to facilitate about 400 total business-to-business meetings during the trade mission.
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