U.S.-Africa Economic Relations at the State Level

Please join the Wilson Center Africa Program for a discussion on “U.S.-Africa Economic Relations at the State Level” on Wednesday, November 6 from 1:00 pm to 4:15 pm in the Wilson Center’s 6th Floor Auditorium. A reception will follow the event from 4:15 pm to 4:45 pm. This event will focus on economic relations between African countries and individual U.S. states. The event will feature U.S. federal and state officials and representatives, African government officials, and business leaders for a discussion on economic ties between Africa and individual U.S. states.

Africa is a continent in economic transformation. In 2018, the International Monetary Fund reported a 3.4 percent growth in real GDP for the continent and found that 8 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies were in Africa. Ongoing economic reforms continue to expand business opportunities, with the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report showing that Sub-Saharan Africa led the world for six years in a row in the number of business regulatory reforms aimed at creating business-friendly environments. The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in 2019 makes Africa the largest free trade zone in the world and opens up more trade and investment opportunities.

A priority for the U.S. government is strengthening economic and commercial ties with Africa and encouraging more private sector investment. Previous administrations worked to advance stronger economic relations through initiatives such as Trade Africa, Power Africa, USAID’s Trade and Investment Hubs, and the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. The Trump Administration has built on these efforts, including through renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and passing the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, which aims to promote U.S. investment by providing greater support to the U.S. private sector seeking to invest in African markets. Over the last 30 years, U.S. trade with Africa has grown from $26.9 billion in 1998 to $61.9 billion in 2018, yet the U.S. is only Africa’s third largest trading partner, behind China and the European Union. There is clearly more room for growing the economic relations between the United States and Africa.

The event will assess the nature and scope of the economic relations between a number of U.S. states and African countries, highlight the measures taken at the state level to drive economic engagement with Africa, review the articulation between U.S. federal and U.S. state efforts to promote economic engagement with Africa, and offer concrete recommendations on the measures and actions that can be taken by the U.S. federal and state governments, as well as African governments, to expand and deepen U.S.-Africa economic relations.

Launched in September 2015, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum provides a premier platform for substantive and solutions-oriented dialogue on key trade, investment, and development issues in Africa, and in U.S.-Africa relations. Convening business leaders and policymakers, as well as subject matter experts from the United States and Africa, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum sponsors a series of public events designed to support the development of economic engagement and policy options that advance mutually beneficial economic relations between Africa and the United States. The Brown Capital Management Africa Forum is made possible by the generous support of Brown Capital Management.

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