The US-Africa Business Forum: connecting enterprise and purpose at the US-Africa leaders summit

Published date:
Wednesday, 16 November 2022
Scott Eisner

Over three days in December, President Joe Biden will host the second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.--the first head of state gathering of African leaders and a U.S. president since 2014. 

The Summit, taking place from December 13-15, 2022, includes a CEO business forum on December 14 called the U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF) for which the Chamber is an official partner.

The business forum focuses on growing the commercial partnership between the U.S. and Africa, with priority discussion topics including the U.S.-Africa commitment to bolstering trade and investment flows, promoting innovation and digital transformation, strengthening regional and global health, addressing food security, and supporting climate sustainability.

Through exploring these challenges and opportunities in-depth, the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit seeks to chart new avenues for improved U.S.-Africa cooperation. Here’s what you need to know.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) are partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce to host the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. Prosper Africa, a unique initiative of government agencies working together to connect U.S. and African companies to commercial opportunities, will host a Deal Room as part of the Forum. 

The USABF will serve as the Summit’s flagship private sector dialogue, convening U.S. and African business leaders, African Heads of State, and African regional institutions to explore how best to strengthen economic relations between the United States and the nations of Africa. 

What is the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit?

President Biden announced in July 2022 that the United States will host its second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit as a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to Africa and desire for “increased cooperation on shared global priorities.” The Heads of State Summit will focus on themes around democracy and human rights; mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and future pandemics, strengthening regional and global health; promoting food security; advancing peace and security; responding to the climate crisis; and amplifying diaspora ties.  

President Obama hosted the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014. At the time, it was the largest event any U.S. president had ever hosted with African Heads of State and government. The Summit’s revitalization signals the Biden-Harris Administration’s recommitment to sustained economic growth and mutual prosperity between the U.S. and Africa. 

How will the U.S.-Africa Business Forum engage the business community?

To explore mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships, the Chamber and CCA, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Commerce, will bring together high-level American and African business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, founders, and policymakers to build new relationships and opportunities by:

  • Strengthening trade between the United States and African countries, 
  • Increasing commercial opportunities across Africa and elevating Africa’s role in the global economy, 
  • Announcing new or expanded investments and programming between U.S. companies and African counterparts.  

USABF will also feature a “Deal Room” hosted by Prosper Africa to provide the space for business leaders and stakeholders to announce new investments, initiatives, and other commercial deals, and further cement partnerships. The Deal Room will showcase the ways in which the U.S. private sector is launching new projects and collaboration that will boost trade and investment between the U.S. and the continent.  

What are the expected outcomes?

The African continent has long insisted that now is not the time for aid, but trade.  With a new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) uniting 54 nations into the world’s largest trade bloc, a burgeoning population set to double by 2050, and the AfCFTA set to grow Africa’s GDP by  $450 billion, the commercial imperative to engage with Africa has never been clearer. The continent’s potential for U.S. business remains largely underestimated and misunderstood, but the time for the U.S. to tap into the world’s next big growth market is now--accelerating growth in Africa and at home.

The USABF aims to deliver ambitious, quantitative outcomes that leverage the immense power of Africa’s digital revolution, promote free trade and integrated, resilient supply chains, support healthier economies, and ensure sustainable infrastructure investment. Looking beyond the discussions during the USABF, all stakeholders should commit to driving real action on priorities in the months and years to come.

What topics will be discussed? 

Agriculture: Unlocking the potential of African agribusiness with increased productivity, strengthened value chains, and better integration into global supply chains.

  • Digital Transformation: Enabling the next generation of inclusive growth through Africa’s innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Energy and Sustainability: Further growing through green energy transition and sustainability.
  • Health: Building a more resilient and secure African health system.
  • Infrastructure: Expanding access to finance and investing in infrastructure to bolster Africa’s growth.
  • Trade and Investment: Strengthening our nations through trade and commerce.

Join the conversation:

While in-person attendance is limited, you can register to watch via Livestream. Be sure to follow the U.S. Africa Business Center (@USChamberAfrica) and the Corporate Council on Africa  (@CorpCnclAfrica) and check out our website to learn when the Livestream option becomes available. 

   Scott Eisner, President, U.S.-Africa Business Center, Sr. Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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