Fostering Stronger Trade Relations Between the United States and African Countries


In a recent media briefing, Marisa Lago, the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in the United States, expressed a strong sense of optimism regarding the evolving relationship between her country and various African nations. This positive outlook stems from the concerted efforts to remove potential barriers that could hinder trade and investment between these nations. Lago’s insights shed light on a transformative trade mission – the Global Diversity Export Initiative Trade Mission (GDEI Trade Mission) – led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is poised to foster stronger ties and propel economic growth across borders.

A Strategic Vision for Engaging with Africa

Marisa Lago emphasizes that the United States’ engagement with Africa extends beyond mere diplomatic gestures; it involves a holistic and purposeful approach to nurture mutually beneficial relationships. This strategy encompasses multifaceted collaboration, spanning bilateral partnerships, sub-national affiliations, and collaboration with pan-African institutions. Rather than being confined to high-profile visits, the focus is on producing tangible results across various dimensions of the diplomatic relationship.

Concrete Results: Trade and Investment

One of the most significant indicators of progress is the array of trade and investment deals that have come to fruition. Following the U.S.-Africa Business Forum and the leaders’ summit held in December, the Biden-Harris administration has successfully facilitated the closing of 75 new deals between the United States and African countries. Remarkably, these deals translate to an impressive $5.7 billion in two-way trade and investment, underlining the tangible impact of these efforts on both economies.

The Role of the GDEI Trade Mission

Central to this renewed commitment is the Global Diversity Export Initiative Trade Mission, a groundbreaking endeavor that underscores the dedication of the U.S. Department of Commerce to fulfill the commitments made during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum. This initiative has brought more than 20 U.S. companies and organizations, primarily owned by members of the African diaspora residing in the United States, to the forefront.

A Diverse Range of Sectors

The participating companies cover a diverse spectrum of sectors, signifying the breadth and depth of collaboration. From information and communications technology (ICT) and cybersecurity to electric vehicles, energy, trade facilitation, and consumer goods – these companies symbolize the mosaic of industries contributing to the strengthened partnership between the U.S. and African countries. This strategic selection enables an alignment between the strengths of U.S. businesses and the prospects within the economies of the target countries.

Foundations of Business Relationships

Marisa Lago underscores the pivotal role that trade missions play in laying the foundation for robust business-to-business relationships. These missions act as a conduit for fostering ties, which subsequently culminate in substantive trade and investment agreements. By facilitating direct interactions between American and African enterprises, these missions create an environment conducive to meaningful collaboration and sustained economic growth.

Selecting Strategic Partners: South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria

The meticulous selection of countries for the trade mission reflects a keen understanding of economic synergies. Marisa Lago emphasizes that countries with a strong presence in sectors aligned with the strengths of U.S. companies were chosen. South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria stand out as strategic partners due to their economic heft in sectors that hold immense promise. This strategic alignment ensures that the mission is not only well-targeted but also poised for maximum impact.

A Renewed Commitment: U.S.-Nigeria Bilateral Relationship

David Greene, the chargé d’affaires responsible for the U.S. Mission to Nigeria, reiterates the unwavering commitment of the United States to Africa and, more specifically, to Nigeria. Greene highlights the exciting trajectory of the U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship, especially in the economic realm. He acknowledges the pivotal structural changes undertaken by the Nigerian administration, which are anticipated to attract increased U.S. capital investment and foster greater two-way trade.

Nigeria’s Economic Growth: A Catalyst for Regional Stability

Greene’s assessment of Nigeria’s economic growth as a catalyst for stability resonates strongly. The interconnectedness of Nigeria’s economic prowess with the broader West African region positions it as an economic heavyweight. As Nigeria’s economy grows, it promises to radiate stability and prosperity, not just within its borders but across West Africa. The vision of economic integration, particularly under the African Continental Free Trade Area, reinforces the United States’ commitment to this partnership.

A Forward-Looking Partnership

In conclusion, the collaboration between the United States and African countries, as exemplified by the GDEI Trade Mission, sets the stage for a transformative partnership. The concerted efforts to enhance trade and investment, along with the strategic selection of sectors and countries, showcase a holistic approach aimed at delivering tangible and lasting results. The U.S. remains steadfast in its commitment to shared prosperity and mutual economic growth. The outlook is promising, with the anticipation of strengthened business ties, innovative collaborations, and sustained economic progress on the horizon.


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