TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

African, US Executives Promote Investment in Africa

Thursday, 01 February 2007

Source: Business in Africa

At least 500 African and American business executives are expected to meet in Houston, USA on 7th February to promote foreign direct investments into Sub-Saharan Africa.

Organisers said the executives will be participating in the first US International Investment and Finance Forum for Projects, Trade, Development and Capital Equipment.

The forum is being hosted by a US-based equipment company, EquipXp in conjunction with Nigeria Community and Friends/NCF Investment Inc., an organisation of Nigerian businessmen and women based in the US.

NCF's president, Chief Temitope Ajayi, said that the forum will seek to support Africa's economic growth, reduce poverty levels and improve living conditions in the continent through training and strategic advisory services.

"Our primary objective is to promote and encourage investments into Sub-Saharan countries and to ensure good economic management that will contribute to poverty reduction and bring about rapid growth and development to Africans," she said.

Ajayi said that the forum would also foster a partnership between African governments and the private sector to create sustainable wealth and facilitate better business ethics.

Participants will include government officials from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Niger, Gabon and Angola, as well as US Department of Commerce and US Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the commercial banks in the US and Canada.

Members of the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa, "US business partners interested in doing business in Africa" will also attend the forum that will also appraise AGOA (the African Growth and Opportunity Act), meant to facilitate African countries to penetrate the US markets bringing in apparels, textiles and agricultural products.

"We are going to look at the benefits and impact of AGOA and also make inputs on areas of improvements to enable African countries and business community to import into the US and reap their investments in full," Ajayi added.

The participants will hold sessions on new investment opportunities in Africa and also review US-based investment and financing portfolios.

The US Ex-Im Bank approved $300mn last June through 14 Nigerian banks to support US exports to Nigeria.

The facility is meant to expedite the processing of short-and medium- term Ex-Im Bank financing for the purchase of US goods and services by Nigerians buyers.