The future of the U.S. – Africa commercial relationship doesn’t lie in the recently reauthorized African Growth and Opportunity Act. For all of its advantages in helping Africans rise out of poverty, strengthen economic institutions, and build transparent governance systems, it has done little to open up new markets to U.S. trade.
The enormous markets of Africa are where the future lies for the U.S. private sector. With untapped resources, a growing middle class, and a yearning for American goods and services, Africa possesses a consumer base of entrepreneurial people of which the world has never seen before.
With 54 diverse economies, it is hard for many investors to pinpoint where to begin. The single biggest market in Africa today is in the region defined as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is comprised 15 countries, of over 300 million people with an economic value of over $700 billion. Its GDP growth is projected to exceed 7% this year compared to 6.3% in 2014. The sky is the limit for this dynamic community of states.
It is against this backdrop that the US Chamber of Commerce has decided to introduce its newest initiative with one goal in mind: expanding the two way trading relationship between the US and ECOWAS. In partnering with ECOWAS and the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber is launching the U.S.-ECOWAS Business Initiative (USEBI).
The aim is to work collaboratively with the ECOWAS business community to achieve the reality of full integration in the region resulting in more connectivity and the creation of larger regional markets that will increase competition, specialization, efficient production and enable the effective allocation of goods, capital and resources.
To accomplish this, the U.S. will need to help bring about superior rail, air, road and water transportation systems that will ultimately deepen ECOWAS’ intra-trade to promote competitiveness as a key driver for sustained economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and across the region.
The development of integrated regional power generation solutions will be the backbone of this growth and provide economies of scale that are essential to increasing intra-regional trade and global exports.
USEBI will work with ECOWAS and U.S. governments to see the full implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that will help overcome trade barriers and cumbersome procedures by harmonizing policies on tariffs, standards, and streamlining customs facilities.
If Africa and the U.S. wait another ten years to talk about how to trade with one another, we will have put each other’s future at risk. That is why the Chamber is leading the way for the U.S. business community into the next and final frontier markets in Africa while at the same time helping African business realize the full potential of the U.S. economy.
To learn more about the U.S.-ECOWAS Business Initiative, contact Ms. Leila Ndiaye at: firstname.lastname@example.org