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US: Commerce Secretary to visit West Africa

US Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Penny Pritzker, will lead an Energy Business Development Mission to West Africa with stops in Ghana and Nigeria from 18-23 May, a statement said on Monday.

The statement, obtained by PANA in New York, said that the mission will promote US exports to Africa by helping American companies launch or increase their businesses in the energy sector in West Africa.

It will also help the African region develop and manage energy resources and systems, build out power generation and transmission, and distribution.

The statement quoted Ms. Pritzker as saying: “In line with President Obama’s US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, this mission is an opportunity to connect US company products, services and expertise to support Africa’s enormous power potential.”

“One of the Commerce Department’s bottom-line goals is to increase the global fluency of US businesses and make trade and investment a bigger part of the US economy’s DNA. Trade missions like these are one way of accomplishing these priorities,” she stated.

US President Barack Obama approved the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Sub-Saharan Africa on 14 June, 2012, which has become known as the US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Strategy recognises that Africa holds the promise to be “the world’s next major economic success story”.

It noted that, this is the first time that promoting US trade and investment has been a cornerstone of a PPD on Sub-Saharan Africa.

It said that, with more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, the power development challenge is enormous.

“Also, more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, including more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas,” the statement added.

According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa needs more than US$300 billion in investments to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 far beyond the capacity of any traditional development programme.

Representatives of the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will be invited to participate to provide information and counseling regarding their suite of programmes and services in sub-Saharan Africa.


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