TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

The President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa: Findings

Wednesday, 18 April 2018


Covering letter:

On November 29, 2017, the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, adopted its Issues Report, identifying the top obstacles U.S. companies face when approaching, competing in, and operating in African markets.

The Council was then tasked with developing a set of recommendations for the U.S. government on how to diminish the obstacles highlighted in the Issues Report. The members of the PAC-DBIA have spent the last three months examining the tools at the U.S. Government’s disposal, the gaps in capacities and programming, the existing resources that could be improved, and what new platforms might spur more opportunity for U.S. exports and business expansion across the African continent.

The Recommendations Report we are now submitting focuses on some of the obstacles we identified that are of particular pressing concern in Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana - the four countries that Council members and U.S Government representatives will visit with Secretary Ross this summer on a fact-finding trip.


  1. Government-to-Government MOU to increase U.S. private investment and commercial participation in key sectors
  2. USTDA Global Procurement Initiative (GPI) program follow-through


  1. Enhanced bilateral trade engagement
  2. USTDA Global Procurement Initiative (GPI) program
  3. Regional U.S.-Africa skills development pilot program


  1. Improved identification and publication of AfDB market intelligence
  2. USTDA partnership with AfDB to strengthen regional procurements through GPI 


  1. U.S. SEC-led technical assistance for Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. Modernized customs facilities, systems, and processes
  3. Government-to-Government MOU to increase U.S. private investment and commercial participation in key sectors


The recommendations we have developed are tailored to suggest ways to eliminate the obstacles and strengthen U.S. commercial ties with each of these countries. They may be used to shape immediate engagements that Council members and U.S. Government officials could undertake during the fact-finding trip, while they also aim for short- and long-term impacts that will require coordinated interagency efforts beyond the scope of the trip activities. Some may even serve as models for replication elsewhere on the continent. But by definition, the fact- finding trip will be an opportunity for the PAC-DBIA to gain in-country perspectives on the recommendations in this report. Through interactions with government officials and business leaders in each country we visit, we look forward to identifying any necessary refinements to the ideas we are proposing, any new ideas to develop, and to establishing partnerships and garnering the necessary support to see ideas turn to action that.

As representatives of the American private sector, we again pledge our support to your Administration’s mission of boosting the American economy and jobs through expanding commercial relationships in countries across Africa in a strategic and systematic manner.


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