Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO
Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO, submitted written testimony in late-January to the United States International Trade Commission’s (USITC) public hearing on enhancing U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa.
The hearing, “U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Developments”, was held on January 23 in Washington, D.C. in connection to an investigation launched by the USITC on October 23, 2017. The investigation was prompted by a direct request from the United States Trade Representative to the USITC to provide a report on U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa, identifying recent trends on U.S. trade flows of goods with SSA.
Public and private sector leaders were invited to shape the direction of U.S.-Africa trade by appearing as witnesses at the hearing or submitting written post-hearing testimonies. The witnesses at the hearing, including representatives from Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and Hello Tractor gave testimonies highlighting the developments in U.S.-Africa trade over the past decade and offered their expertise in how to expand U.S-Africa trade opportunities.
The hearing featured a wide range of topics such as identifying the sectors and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where U.S. exports and imports have increased; recent developments in regional integration efforts, including progress on negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); AGOA strategies that have been developed by African countries; and challenges that U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face when exporting of goods and services to the continent.
In his written post-hearing testimony, Dr. Mima Nedelcovych argued for a new approach to U.S.-Africa trade policy and engagement by connecting U.S. companies to their counterparts on the African continent, and vice versa.
“Generating interest in more American companies doing business with African companies is a first step in increasing U.S. investment in Africa,” Dr. Nedelcovych stated. “Efforts to connect U.S. companies with African companies, like IGD’s U.S. Roadshow Tour, will establish a sense of familiarity between both parties and build strong, mutually beneficial relationships for doing business together, thereby increasing U.S.-Africa trade.”
Dr. Nedelcovych also urged U.S. government agencies such as Export-Import Bank, OPIC, MCC, and USAID to expand access to financing and capacity building to grow the African private sector.
Nedelcovych concluded by emphasizing that opportunities await both African and U.S. private sector leaders, noting that the U.S. must shift its outdated perception of doing business in Africa. “African private sector leaders understand that the direction of business has changed,” Dr. Nedelcovych stated. “Americans must do the same.”
The USITC expects to deliver the U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Developments report to US Trade Representative by April 30, 2018.