U.S. Chamber Calls for Renewed Efforts to Expand Economic Relations with Africa

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.–At an event on Capitol Hill today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Africa Business Initiative joined Constituency for Africa (CFA), the Congressional Caucus on African Partnership for Economic Growth, and the Whitaker Group for a roundtable discussion to discuss strategies for expanding American trade and investment in Africa.

During the discussion, Greg Lebedev, senior advisor to the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Center for International Private Enterprise, outlined specific steps the administration and Congress could take to help increase U.S. exports and investment in Africa. This includes the passage of tax incentives for American investors, the expansion of U.S. trade finance and capacity-building efforts, and the extension of the U.S.-African Growth and Opportunity Act.

"Even with these expanded efforts, U.S. businesses will still fall short of state-sponsored export initiatives from other major economic powers now focusing on Africa, including China and India," Lebedev said. "It is therefore imperative that the U.S. take action to strengthen our economic relationship with this highly significant emerging market of nearly one billion people."

Other discussion participants included Congressman Bobby Rush, founder and co-chair of the African Partnership for Economic Growth Caucus, Connie Hamilton, deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, and Rosa Whitaker, former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa and president and CEO of the Whitaker Group.

The event was part of CFA's Ronald H. Brown Lecture Series on U.S.-Africa relations, held each year in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus' Annual Legislative Conference.

The Chamber's Africa Business Initiative, led by Executive Director Scott Eisner, was created to engage the U.S. business community on policies that foster direct foreign investment in Africa and to facilitate new and expanded trade relations between the U.S. and African countries.

The US Chamber is the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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