TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

American & African Businesses Partner for Economic Development

Wednesday, 08 June 2005

Source: Corporate Council on Africa (Washington, DC)

The business climate on the continent of Africa is changing for the better. Last year, Africa saw the highest rates of return on investment of any region in the world. Many international investors have already learned that they can earn money along with their African partners while making significant contributions to improving African economies - critical to addressing poverty. Now Americans, particularly small and medium business owners, are waking up to the win-win opportunities in Africa.

It is against this backdrop that The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) convenes its 5th U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Baltimore June 21-24. More than 2,000 participants are expected, including American and African businesses, public officials and international non-profit organizations. Africans and Americans will meet to share their respective expertise in areas such as technical know-how and marketplace realities.

"Our primary goal is to strengthen trade and investment ties between the U.S. and the 53 countries of Africa," said CCA President Stephen Hayes. "This summit will provide a forum for small, medium-sized and Fortune 500 businesses to identify potential partnerships. In addition, there will be workshops on key issues and discussions on the impact of international trade policies, as well as critical information American companies need on doing business in Africa."

CCA's West Africa International Business Linkages (WAIBL) program alone has recorded more than 700 transactions worth more that $200 million. Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Senegal and other countries have attracted American partners and investment for the textile, IT, transportation, housing, agribusiness and other sectors. This has been two-way trade with African businesses selling to as well as buying from the U.S.

The plenary sessions and more than 50 workshops will cover topics such as agriculture, arts and entertainment, education, energy and power, finance, healthcare, housing, small business opportunities, telecommunications, tourism, transportation and infrastructure. An Africa Artisan Fair will showcase 25 exhibits featuring high-end African handicrafts to encourage trade opportunities.

"Forward-thinking business leaders are realizing Africa's significance more and more," said Hayes. "Africa is important to America and the world - politically, strategically and economically. For any business, person or agency planning to do business with Africa, attending our Summit is 'a must'. It will provide an excellent forum for exchanging a wide-range of ideas, information about Africa as well as a venue to develop business partnerships.

The Corporate Council on Africa is comprised of nearly 200 U.S. companies doing business in Africa. Collectively, CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of the total U.S. private-sector investment in Africa. The four-day summit is expected to be the largest U.S.-Africa business conference held in the United States.

For more information about the CCA Summit, please visit www.africacncl.org.