The Doing Business in Africa Campaign

Washington, DC - Through the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign, the U.S. government is strengthening its commercial relationship with the continent of Africa, a diverse region that offers substantial trade and investment opportunities across national and regional markets. 

With a 5.4 percent growth rate predicted for 2014, Africa is outpacing global growth.  U.S. goods and services exports to Africa reached a record high of $50.2 billion in 2013, up 40 percent since 2009.  These exports supported 250,000 U.S. jobs. 

New Commitments to Significantly Expand the DBIA Campaign

At today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, President Obama announced $7 billion in new financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa under the DBIA Campaign.  U.S. companies announced new deals in clean energy, aviation, banking, and construction worth more than $14 billion, in addition to $12 billion in new commitments under the President’s Power Africa initiative from private sector partners, the World Bank, and the government of Sweden.  Taken together, these new commitments amount to more than $33 billion, supporting economic growth across Africa and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

The DBIA Campaign encourages U.S. commercial engagement in Africa by harnessing the resources of the U.S. government to assist businesses in identifying and seizing opportunities and to engage with members of the African Diaspora in the United States.  The DBIA Campaign, which was launched in November 2012, has four main objectives:

  • Connect American Businesses with African Partners
  • Support Existing and New American Investment in Africa
  • Expand Access for American Businesses to Finance Their Exports to Africa
  • Reduce Barriers to Trade and Investment in Africa

The U.S. government’s newly announced two-year commitments to support the DBIA Campaign are provided below. 

An Executive Order to Create a President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa

Today the President signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and in Africa by encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa. 

The E.O. directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa that will be comprised of not more than 15 members from the private sector, including small business.  The Advisory Council will provide information, analysis, and recommendations to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, including on developing strategies for creating jobs in the United States and Africa through trade and investment; developing strategies by which the U.S. private sector can identify and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in Africa; and building lasting commercial partnerships between the U.S. and African private sectors.

New U.S. Government Resources to Support U.S. Exports and Investment in Africa

Interagency Initiatives

  • The Principals of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will mobilize private capital for Africa’s infrastructure through a series of at least three outcome-oriented roundtables in Africa that will advance project- and sector-specific investment opportunities and needed regulatory reforms.  These agencies will implement the initiative in coordination with DBIA Campaign agencies, African governments, and the U.S. and African private sectors.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce and USTDA launched the 20x20 Initiative to support a total of 20 trade and reverse trade missions by 2020, to promote U.S. industry engagement in Africa.  Working with federal, state, and local government partners, these missions will foster U.S. business partnerships with key African stakeholders.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Ex-Im Bank will collectively support 50 DBIA Campaign-themed activities and outreach sessions over the next two years to facilitate U.S. trade finance, provide counseling and training on their programs, and conduct business development to support U.S. exporters, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises.

U.S. Export-Import Bank

  • Ex-Im Bank will commit up to $3 billion in financing to support U.S. exports to Africa over the next two years.  This is in addition to Ex-Im Bank’s existing commitments of $5 billion for Power Africa and a planned commitment of $1 billion to support U.S. exports in connection with new and ongoing Angolan infrastructure projects (through the Angolan Ministry of Finance).
  • Ex-Im Bank will commit $563 million in financing to support the sale of General Electric locomotives to Transnet, South Africa’s largest integrated freight transport company. Major components of the locomotives will be manufactured at GE’s facilities in Erie, PA and Grove City, PA supporting an estimated 2,500 American jobs.

Millennium Challenge Corporation

  • MCC will commit up to $2 billion in funding for new compacts in Africa that facilitate private sector-led economic growth and poverty reduction, creating potential opportunities for U.S. companies.  This commitment includes $498 million over the next five years to support the turnaround of Ghana’s electricity sector and stimulate private investment.  This Compact represents an example of the catalytic impact of Power Africa interventions which will help create the enabling environment to catalyze billions of dollars of private investment in Ghana.
  • MCC will also lead its first ever investment mission to Africa to introduce U.S. businesses to the opportunities for investing in and around its Compacts.  In addition, MCC will hold at least eight Procurement Promotion sessions with U.S. companies to promote Compact contracting opportunities and developing five Trade and Investment Prospectuses, one for each new Compact in Africa, that outline the specific business opportunities that are expected to arise from MCC’s investments. 

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

  • OPIC will commit up to $1 billion in financing and insurance support to catalyze private sector investments in Africa.  This is in addition to OPIC’s existing $1.5 billion Power Africa commitment.  OPIC reaffirmed its plan to place personnel on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa to help facilitate increased U.S. trade and investment and will support an investment mission to the region, with a focus on the power sector.
  • OPIC will coordinate approximately a dozen U.S. government meetings on August 6, 2014, for U.S. and African private sector investors and project developers to discuss discrete transactions for financing support consideration to OPIC, as well as other DBIA investment agencies.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

  • USTDA, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation, hosted two African Leaders Visits in association with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.  These reverse trade missions highlighted the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through strategic infrastructure investments in the energy and transportation sectors. 
  • USTDA announced it will partner with the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company of South Africa to evaluate satellite-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast across the African continent, the implementation of which will improve air traffic safety and create over $100 million in U.S. export opportunities.
  • USTDA reaffirmed its plan to have local representation in Nigeria for the first time.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation will make available up to $1 billion in financing guarantees available for agricultural exports to Africa over the next two years.  USDA also will conduct outreach seminars to Africa in 2015 to promote the use of its credit guarantee program for the export of U.S. agricultural products.

U.S. Department of State

  • The U.S. Department of State intends to commit $10 million toward the expansion of the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (US-ACEF), which aligns USTDA’s project planning expertise and OPIC’s financing and risk mitigation tools in new ways, to support private sector investment and increase support for U.S. businesses and exports in sub-Saharan Africa’s clean energy sector.
  • The U.S. Department of State will sponsor a medical technology trade mission to sub-Saharan Africa led by a senior State Department official.

U.S. Department of Commerce

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce reiterated its commitment to double its presence in sub-Saharan Africa by opening new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, while expanding its operations in Ghana, and re-establishing a position at the African Development Bank. 
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce will host its next Trade Winds Conference and Mission in Africa in 2015.  The Trade Winds program brings hundreds of U.S. companies to a region to hear about opportunities, meet one-on-one with Africa businesses, and get counseling from U.S. Commercial Service officers.  Past Trade Winds have been held in Asia and Latin America and resulted in over $100 million in deals at each event.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce launched a One-Stop-Shop website (www.trade.gov/DBIA) to offer American businesses and entrepreneurs a convenient instant access to critical African market information, financing tools available to them, projects to consider, key contacts, and much more.
  • To celebrate the second anniversary of the DBIA Campaign, the U.S. Department of Commerce will host a “Discover Sub-Saharan Africa” conference in Atlanta on November 4-6, 2014.  Its Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will join the Constituency for Africa in hosting a “Doing Business in Africa” workshop in October to promote business and trade opportunities in Africa and resources for reaching the African marketplace.  MBDA also committed to host a U.S.-Africa Investors Forum on August 6, 2014, in association with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.
  • Through its Global City Teams Program, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in partnership with the U.S. private sector, will target at least 25 African metropolitan areas to join their counterparts worldwide in an interactive platform to accelerate smart city and smart grid goals.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • USAID will commit to a bond guarantee through its Development Credit Authority that will allow Dakar, Senegal, to issue the first ever non-sovereign backed municipal bond in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa (with technical assistance support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).  The guarantee will enable the city to raise $41.8 million on the regional stock exchange.  In addition, USAID guaranteed transactions are expected to mobilize $381 million in new private sector lending to small and medium enterprises across the continent. 
  • USAID will launch the Africa Private Capital Group – a platform in South Africa to mobilize U.S., South African, and international private sector investment in key sectors to development, including agriculture, energy, trade, infrastructure, and health.
  • USAID will upgrade its existing African Trade Hubs into “U.S.-African Trade and Investment Hubs” that will now create new opportunities for U.S. investment in and exports to Africa.  These hubs are located in Accra, Ghana, Nairobi, Kenya, and Gabarone, Botswana, and cover the West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa regions, respectively. 
  • USAID will roll out its Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) project this fall, to assesses the ease of doing business and investing in Africa’s agriculture. The BBA provides businesses worldwide with objective information on a country’s ease of doing business in agriculture.

U.S. Department of Transportation

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Secretary Anthony Foxx will lead a transportation mission to Africa in early 2015, to discuss opportunities for improving regional connectivity, promoting safety and efficiency, and sharing best practices on increasing investment in transportation infrastructure.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation launched its Tomorrow’s Transportation Leaders initiative, which will include up to five workshops over the next two years to engage 100 young African transportation professionals on adopting U.S. best practices.  The workshops will address transportation policies and regulatory framework, transportation investment planning, and the efficient management of transportation systems.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation intends to direct $1 million toward strengthening civil aviation safety through the Safe Skies for Africa program.

U.S. Department of Energy

  • The U.S. Department of Energy will support the “Clean Energy Solutions Center,” a multilateral initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial to connect policymakers in Africa with clean energy experts and best practice resources.  The Clean Energy Solutions Center is a web-based resource that draws on knowledge from global experts to help governments design and adopt policies and programs that support the deployment of clean energy technologies.  Through the partnership, the Solutions Center will provide expert policy consultations free of charge to Power Africa countries in response to requests received.

Office of the United States Trade Representative

  • On August 5, USTR signed at its headquarters a new Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to provide a coordinated mechanism for engaging on trade and investment issues with the 15 West African countries that are part of ECOWAS.

Additional information