On the occasion of a reception celebrating the “long-term (10-year) renewal” of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and just after stressing the importance of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, the White House delivered fresh data about US-Africa trade relationship.
After a decade or so of specific efforts led by the US government (USG) with a view to developing and grasping Africa’s “extraordinary opportunities”, the US now ranks as Africa’s 3rd most important partner with bilateral trade worth $73 billion in 2014 with US export accounting for 51% of that figure. China and the European Union (EU) rank 1st and 2nd with $200 billion and $140 billion in annual African trade respectively.
“Despite its many challenges (…) Africa is a place of incredible dynamism, some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, extraordinary people, extraordinary resilience, and it has the potential to be the next center of global economic growth,” said Barack Obama who added he worked for seven years as President to take US relations with Africa to “a new level” and traveled four times to Sub-Saharan Africa, “more than any other US President, and (has been) the first US President to address the African Union (AU).”
Obama also benefited from bipartisan support which helped to boost US exports and launch initiatives like Power Africa and Mandela Fellows that promote trade and investment in sectors like health, food security and electrification. Although “there is still a lot of misperception within the business community,” Obama welcomed the progress that’s been made so far and announced the US will host next year’s US-Africa Business Forum.