Business News of 2014-03-03

AMCHAM to help foster trade between Africa and US

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has resolved to double its efforts in promoting trade, investment and development between Africa and the United States of America.
It has also stressed to, as a group, lobby the US government to renew the Africa growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA ) in 2015 while working towards building the American brand on the continent.
In a resolution at the 4th annual AmCham Summit (in Africa), it further resolved to “Support the various Africa regional trade blocs’ efforts at regional integration and the growth of the continent through intra-continent trade.”
The summit
The summit of AmCham member countries in Africa came to a successful end last week in Accra. It was hosted by the Africa Bureau of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
It was attended by AmCham members from sub-Sahara Africa, executives of the Africa bureau of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. and Ghanaian government officials including the US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene Cretz, and Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, the special guest of honour.
Under the theme: “Building the American Brand in Africa,” participants at the two-day summit discussed various strategies designed to drive the growth of US private sector investment and bilateral trade with Africa.
Vice President Amissah Arthur, who opened the summit, said the government was committed to supporting the chamber’s efforts in expanding Ghana’s trade with the US
“I am therefore interested in the planned discussions on strategies designed to drive the growth of the US private sector investment and trade with Africa and in U.S. government policies and initiatives aimed at accelerating Africa’s economic development.”
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene Cretz, made the case for the American Brand with emphasis on the value of American products and services, the innovative spirit of US companies, their strong reliance on local talent, strong business values, sound environmental practices and commitment to the community.
"The face of American business is a local face. These businesses respect and treat their workers as their most valuable assets, providing significant training, career development and opportunities for upward mobility,” he said.
The Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said in the light of globalisation sweeping across the world, countries must constantly seek new partnerships and linkages to remain competitive in the global market.
He added that traditional forms of relationships among nations therefore needed to be re-appraised. “In this regard, the US and Ghana should seize the opportunity to forge mutually beneficial trade and business alliances consistent with the realities of the current global trend.”
In the area of trade between Ghana and US, the value of Ghana’s exports to the US continues to increase. The value of exports increased from US$ 102.9 million in 2010, to US$ 445.2 million in 2011. At the same time, imports from US continued to increase. In the year 2010, the value of imports was US$ 1.1 billion, this increased to US$ 1.3 billion as of the close of 2011.
The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ghana, Ms Hannah Tetteh, also explained Ghana’s foreign policy and ECOWAS Economic Partnership to the participants.
She admitted that even though ECOWAS had not lived up to expectation over the past 30 years, there had been significant interventions since last year that enhanced the business environment in the sub-region.
Also at the summit were various US government officials who discussed their government’s role in providing financing and mitigating risk as well as how to leverage U.S. government agencies to advance trade, investment and development.
The African Development Bank also shared with the delegates a presentation on the rapid growth of the continent over the past two decades and the potential of the continent, as well the impact of the bank's financing on manufacturing, agribusiness and infrastructural development on the continent.
Participating members of AmCham shared their experiences and success stories on engagement and doing business on the African continent. The summit received generous support from many U.S. associated businesses in Ghana.