USAID Administrator Samantha Power on financing new pathways to a stronger US-Africa economic partnership

USAID Administrator Samantha Power on financing new pathways to a stronger US-Africa economic partnership
USAID Administrator Samantha Powers
Thursday, 29 July 2021 ~ USAID Speeches
Africa Media Hub

Good morning everyone, it’s an honor to be here with you today at this year’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit.

I want to offer a special thanks to Florie Liser and the Corporate Council on Africa for convening this important event.

This year, USAID, the Agency that I have the privilege of running, turns 60. And for those 60 years, the U.S.’ relationship with the continent of Africa has largely been the same.

It is a relationship rooted in foreign assistance—in the U.S. working with partner countries to develop their institutions, and investing in education, healthcare, agriculture, and energy, to support Africans’ pursuit of what has been extraordinary progress.

That assistance has been critical, helping dramatically reduce the rates of HIV and malaria, helping lift millions from extreme poverty, and helping Africa record the biggest increases in primary school enrolment of any region in the world.

And our unwavering and long standing commitment to Africa will continue, as we partner with countries to battle a crippling third-wave of COVID-19, build resilience to climate shocks, and strengthen the rule of law amidst a troubling democratic decline on the continent.

But we must turn the page on this chapter of our history. We have to evolve, from a relationship based mostly on aid, to one based on trade. We must strengthen private sector ties between our countries, spur economic investment at a scale that could never be matched by foreign aid, and help Africans realize the kind of sustainable, independent future that they have long sought.

That’s the spirit behind the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign that we are launching at this Summit. As you have heard throughout this conference, the U.S. is reinvigorating our Prosper Africa initiative through the Build Together Campaign, to elevate our commitment to two-way trade and investment between African nations and the United States.

The Campaign demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building a better, stronger, more secure and inclusive trade and investment relationship with Africa.

Public investment in developing countries represents just 10 percent of all global financial flows. It is businesses and investors like you, harnessing your resources, your technology, and your expertise, that will truly drive the continent’s long-term economic growth and prosperity.

Through Prosper Africa, USAID will directly connect American investors with African businesses ripe for investment by funding delegations and making crucial connections to local actors, leveraging our long-standing relationships on the continent. This work will help American businesses access Africa’s fast-growing markets, and create thousands of jobs for both African and American workers.

We will have a special focus on small businesses and those led by the African Diaspora—businesses that represent America’s diversity and underscore the deep ties between America and Africa.

One way we will increase investment is by tapping into one of the largest pools of underutilized capital in the world—U.S. pension funds. U.S. pension funds hold $18 trillion dollars in assets that are hungry for high-yield returns, the type of returns you get by investing in Africa.

Angela Miller-May, Chief investment Officer of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, participated in several USAID-sponsored investor delegations to various countries in Africa. Those trips opened her eyes to the growth and potential of the African economy.

As she put it:

“Before my first delegation... my understanding of Africa was based on what I had seen on TV or read in the news, and I perceived Africa as a place of risk. But all of those perceptions quickly went out the door: I saw that Africa was filled with opportunities. The discussions [I had]...shortened the distance between the U.S. and Africa for me.”

After those trips, Angela decided to make the fund’s first investment in Africa—a $20 million investment in African companies working in healthcare, education, technology, and other vital sectors of the economy.

This kind of investment is win-win. It gives innovative African businesses the resources they need to grow, while putting money in the pockets of America’s workers....and it would have never happened, had USAID not put Angela on her first plane to the continent.

Through the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, we will continue to “shorten the distance” between U.S. investors and African businesses.

Through the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, we will leverage our longstanding presence on the ground to build a better, stronger, more secure, and inclusive trade and investment strategy for African nations and the United States.

We will do this in partnership with African countries and in accordance with American values rooted in mutual respect, national sovereignty, democratic governance, and individual dignity—not as a means to advance our own interests or seek favors in return.

We believe in the nations of Africa, in their potential, and in the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the African people. Now we have to work to turn that belief into action, so we can truly write a new chapter in our relationship with the people of the continent.

I thank you.

View related news articles

USAID Southern Africa to support upcoming Swakopmund international trade expo

The USAID/Southern Africa will collaborate with the government and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) for the upcoming 7th Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAITEX). Dr Takele Tassew, Agriculture and Trade Advisor for the USAID/Southern Africa Regional Economic Growth Office, confirmed in a statement that this partnership is possible because of a meeting they had with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME...

03 October 2019

A look back on the East Africa USAID Hub as the project comes to an end

After five years, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub), a USAID project, is coming to a close. This is an expected end as USAID projects typically run for five years. Since the USAID Hub began in 2014, we have been fortunate to work with dedicated entrepreneurs, private sector organizations, governments and development partners. Together, we have supported eastern Africa’s private sector to access and leverage economic...

14 August 2019

US apparel buyer linked to sourcing opportunities in Madagascar

On August 26-30, the USAID East African Trade and Investment Hub conducted a buyer mission to Antananarivo, Madagascar for a large publicly listed U.S. apparel company. The U.S buyer engaged with apparel companies in Madagascar and identified several sourcing opportunities that could support its production of apparel and related fashion goods across several top brands.  “Madagascar’s private sector is recognizing and fully embracing...

05 September 2018

USAID supports Kenya’s AGOA strategy to double duty-free exports by 2023

Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has launched the Kenya National African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Strategy and Action Plan (2018-2023) alongside Kenya’s National Export Development and Promotion Strategy.  The new National AGOA Strategy outlines actions for priority sectors to increase the country’s exports to the U.S. by 10.4 percent annually. In 2017, Kenya exported goods worth $572 million to the...

31 July 2018

Gambia AGOA workshop: ‘US committed to expanding trade links with The Gambia’

The United States Ambassador to The Gambia, C. Patricia Alsup on May 9 presided over an African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) workshop in Banjul, using the opportunity to reaffirm the United States Government’s commitment to restoring and expanding its trade links with The Gambia. The AGOA workshop was organized in partnership with the Gambia Investment Export and Promotion Agency (GIEPA), and the United States Agency for International...

10 May 2018

USAID trade hubs created over 60,000 new jobs in Africa - USAID Director

U.S. Agency for International Development’s Mission Director for West Africa, Alex Deprez has revealed that US-Africa trade relations has led to the creation of more than 60,000 jobs across the continent. Alex Deprez expressed US government’s commitment to assisting Africa in its development agenda through trade and investments. He continued that the interventions by the US government which are implemented by the agencies and partners...

07 May 2018

AGOA strategy awareness in motion for Botswana

The Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI) in collaboration with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), U.S. Embassy in Botswana, USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), the Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) and the Botswana Export Credit Insurance (BECI) are conducting nation-wide workshops to sensitize the...

01 March 2018

Sierra Leone: Workshops offer training before Sierra Leone’s AGOA national strategy launch

Ahead of Sierra Leone’s U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) strategy launch, two Trade Hub-hosted workshops for national officials focused on AGOA standards and other customs procedures. The Freetown trainings, hosted on November 15 and 16, attracted participants from Sierra Leone’s Department of Foreign Trade, the Executive Office of the Permanent Secretary, and the Department of Domestic Commerce and Trade at the Ministry of...

28 November 2017

Kenya: TradeHub conducts national AGOA Strategy review workshops

From November 22-23, the Hub collaborated with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to conduct stakeholder workshops on home décor and fashion accessories, textile and apparel, and coffee. Participants discussed the supply constraints that can hinder exports and developed sector action plans to mitigate those constraints. They also refined the Hub-supported end-market analysis draft reports designed to help Kenyan businesses...

23 November 2017

Sierra Leone: Local producers trained on AGOA trade benefits

The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub yesterday organized a one day sensitization workshop for executives of local companies at the Hub Hotel Wilberforce in Freetown. Sharka Kawa Export Development Officer of SLIEPA spoke about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and it export...

25 January 2017