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U.S. Strengthens Relationships with Sub-Saharan Africa through AGOA Forum, New Presidential Policy Directive

On June 14-15, the United States hosted the 11th annual U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum. The event is mandated by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and is the U.S. Government’s premier high-level, bilateral event with sub-Saharan Africa.

This year’s theme was “Enhancing Africa’s Infrastructure for Trade.” The ministerial portion of the Forum focused on infrastructure development in Africa in four ways:

  1. Promoting an improved business climate and effective regulation that will encourage private-public partnerships 
  2. Increasing regional economic integration through strategic development of regional transportation corridors, regional power pools, and power generation capacity that can be shared across borders
  3. Highlighting opportunities for U.S. exports in infrastructure-related products and support for U.S. investment
  4. Encouraging the adaptation of renewable energy and energy efficient products

Secretary Clinton delivered opening remarks at the Forum on June 14, calling Africa “the land of opportunity” in the 21st century and noting that “Africa offers the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment of any developing region in the world. In fact, it is the only developing region where the growth rate is expected to this year. The middle class is growing. Consumer spending is increasing. Urban centers are becoming vital economic hubs.”

That same day, President Obama took another step in deepening U.S. partnerships with the nations and peoples of sub-Saharan Africa when he signed a new Presidential Policy Directive on the region that sets forth four strategic objectives for U.S. engagement in Africa: strengthen democratic institutions; spur economic growth, trade, and investment; advance peace and security; and promote opportunity and development.

Learn more about the future of America’s partnership with sub-Saharan Africa or view President Obama’s new strategy (pdf) for the region.

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