December 14, 2022
Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State
Investing in global partnerships between the United States and Africa has opened the door to a stronger and more collaborative relationship, leading to the exchange of ideas, goods, and services.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF), Secretary of the U.S. Department of State Antony Blinken discussed these investments and the impact they have had on addressing global challenges, along with ways to advance two-way trade to grow Africa’s impact on the global economy.
A Partnership Between the U.S. and Africa Can Have a Major Impact on Global Economics
Global partnerships — such as the partnership between the U.S. and African nations — can yield benefits for all parties involved.
“Last year, two-way trade in goods and services between African nations and the United States totaled more than $80 billion, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in our countries,” he said.
While the previous year’s trade was fruitful, Blinken sees great potential for this partnership to scale even further.
“Together, as the world's largest economy and one of the world's fastest-growing economic regions, respectively, the United States and African nations have the potential to build one of the 21st century's most successful economic partnerships,” Blinken explained. “If we managed to increase our share of imports and exports by just 1%, we would generate an additional $34 billion in revenue for Africa, $25 billion in revenue for the United States, and create more than 250,000 good-paying jobs as a result.”
Challenging Times Can Lead to Opportunities for Growth
The changing economic climate has impacted people and businesses worldwide. However, Blinken sees the good in these challenging times, noting they often lead to potential growth and expansion opportunities.
“This is one of the great inflection points of our time, and whether it's the incredible volatility that we're all experiencing, the changing costs of commodities, supply chain issues caused by COVID, integrating new technologies that are evolving at an ever-faster pace — we know that this complicates life in profound ways,” Blinken said. “But there's tremendous opportunity in those challenges.”
One of the growth opportunities Blinken sees is through the younger workforce, who are getting companies to listen by voicing their needs as well as calling for better offerings and benefits, instead of remaining complacent.
“Take the younger workforce, for example — demanding more higher-quality jobs, constantly looking for ways to upskill,” Blinken explained. “If we provide them with a chance to do that, we have a chance to build one of the most talented workforces [and] one of the most dedicated consumer bases in the world.”
Deepening the Partnership Between the U.S. and Africa Requires a Collaborative Approach
Deepening the partnership between the U.S. and Africa requires collaboration between the nations in multiple key areas, according to Blinken. These include increasing economic diplomacy efforts, organizing more commercial diplomacy trips, continuing and expanding business partnerships between the nations, and channeling investments from the U.S. private sector into Africa’s vast growth industries.
“Our approach is rooted in the recognition that to meaningfully address our shared challenges, we need the leadership, we need the innovation of African nations and institutions working side-by-side as equal partners with American institutions, with our government, [and] with our private sector,” Blinken said. “We are committed to this collaborative approach in our work with African businesses too.”