U.S. delegation in Lagos to gather facts on commercial opportunities

Africa presents tremendous long-term growth opportunities. This has made both the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector committed to deepening their economic and commercial engagement on the continent. In view of this, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, to kick-off a fact-finding mission with senior U.S. business executives who comprise the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA).  Chaired by Secretary Pritzker, the Council was formed to advise the President Barack Obama on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.

“President Obama and I are convinced that the American private sector, working in partnership with the African business community, can help address some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, including building modern infrastructure, creating jobs and opportunity for young people, and expanding access to education and the Internet,” said Secretary Pritzker.  “When we think about the economic potential of countries across Africa—and Nigeria is absolutely at the top of that list—the imperative that we all face is to promote economic growth and opportunity at home, and deepening our mutually beneficial ties of trade and commerce is not just a nice to have, it is a must-have for all of us.”

During the trip, the PAC-DBIA members would gather facts about the commercial opportunities and challenges in Nigeria and report back to President Obama with strong and actionable recommendations, and develop policy ideas that will benefit both countries.

The delegation, on Monday, had a roundtable discussion with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) in an event tagged “Unleashing Africa’s Entrepreneurs: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to Empower the Next Generation of Africa’s Business Leaders”.

Secretary Pritzker noted at the event, how important it is, to empower the next generation of Africa’s business leader.

Following Nigeria, the delegation will travel to Kigali, Rwanda.

A statement by the U.S. Department of State says Pritzker’s trip to Nigeria and Rwanda underscores the Obama Administration’s commitment to shifting the U.S. economic relationship with Africa from one based on aid to one based on trade and investment.

Why Nigeria and Rwanda? Nigeria’s middle class of roughly 50 million people is expected to help grow the country into one of the top-10 global economies by 2050. On its part, Rwanda has taken some of the most progressive steps in Africa to promote economic competitiveness and has established itself as a leader in the East African Community. The Rwandan government has executed several programs that have led to economic progress, the statement added.