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U.S. Strengthens Cooperation with East African Countries

Friday, September 23, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker hosted Sept. 20 a roundtable in New York with East African heads of state aimed at accelerating regional integration through practical and actionable private sector driven proposals in the areas of infrastructure, agribusiness technology, and travel and tourism. The Department of Commerce indicates that the East African leaders agreed to support these proposals, which are viewed as critical steps to expanding the bilateral trade and investment relationships between their respective economies and the United States. East African countries represented at the roundtable included Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

In the area of infrastructure, for example, East African leaders and Secretary Pritzker agreed to work together to address challenges in building large-­scale infrastructure with the goal of convening an infrastructure summit with U.S. investors and companies across the infrastructure value chain focused on specific projects in the critical areas of electricity, transport and water infrastructure. According to the DOC, the roundtable built on the achievements from the CEO regional integration roundtable that Secretary Pritzker co-chaired with Rwandan President Kagame in January 2016 during her trip to Africa with members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC­-DBIA).

The DOC also announced this week the appointment of 23 private sector leaders to the PAC­-DBIA, which is tasked with advising the president on strengthening commercial engagement between the U.S. and Africa. Specifically, the council provides information, analysis and recommendations that address the following issues.

- creating jobs in the U.S. and Africa through trade and investment

- developing strategies by which the U.S. private sector can identify and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in Africa

- building lasting commercial partnerships between the U.S. and African private sectors

- facilitating U.S. business participation in Africa's infrastructure development

- contributing to the growth and improvement of Africa's agricultural sector by encouraging partnerships between U.S. and African companies to bring innovative agricultural technologies to Africa

- making available to the U.S. private sector an accurate understanding of the opportunities for increasing trade with and investment in Africa

- developing and strengthening partnerships and other mechanisms to increase U.S. public and private sector financing of trade with and investment in Africa

- analyzing the effect of policies in the U.S. and Africa on U.S. trade and investment interests in Africa

- identifying other means to expand commercial ties between the U.S. and Africa

- building the capacity of Africa's young entrepreneurs to develop trade and investment ties with U.S. partners

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