Nairobi – The administration of US President Joe Biden has launched the Prosperous Africa Build Together initiative by requesting $80 million from Congress to build trade and investment between the US and Africa.
Dana Banks, senior US director for Africa at the National Security Council, said in an online news briefing on Wednesday that the US is ready to trade with the continent.
“The campaign is a targeted effort to enhance and activate the United States’ commitment to trade and investment with countries on the African continent under the Biden and Harris administrations,” Banks said. “And our goal is to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa by connecting US and African businesses and investors to tangible deal opportunities.”
This is not the first time the US government has imposed trade restrictions on Africa.
– In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the African Development and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the deal provides African countries with unilateral, duty-free exports for 6,500 products to the US AGOA and is extended until 2025.
According to the Brookings Institution, South Africa received $917 million in 2019 by exporting automobiles and agricultural products to the US.
A separate study by the University of South Africa in 2017 found that the US imported 10 percent of its wine from South Africa, worth $59 million.
— and the US government is now negotiating a free trade agreement with Kenya.
more growth, jobs
Banks said the US wants to participate in the development of Africa.
“Africa’s growing integration into global markets, a demographic boom and a rich culture of entrepreneurship are new opportunities for both U.S. and African businesses to strengthen those economic ties and to foster economic growth and job creation and greater participation in the U.S. presents a remarkable opportunity to promote the future of Africa,” she said.
Gerishon Ikiara, lecturer in international economic affairs at the University of Nairobi, said the initiative would help strengthen ties between the US and Africa.
“The US seeks to exploit this for economic reasons, both political and international relations, as it is known all over the world that trade links also help build political and diplomatic relations. … It is for both America and Africa. Important. So far,” Ikiara said. “America is also learning more about African products, African culture, with many migrant workers from Africa working in America”
However, some critics say the trade and investment scheme could undermine the African Continental Free Trade Area, which was established in 2019. The agreement promotes the free movement of goods and people across the continent.