More than ever, American business is committed to Africa
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From the pages of history books to the pages of newspapers, the centuries-old relationship between Africa and the United States doesn’t always make for easy reading. But mixed with that legacy are rich cultures, noble traditions, and people of remarkable potential that have shaped American society. Today, the vibrancy of the people of Africa continue to make a remarkable contribution to our country’s civic life and that of many other nations. 

Africa’s economic contributions cannot be overlooked either. American businesses see extraordinary potential in Africa’s markets and recognize the long-term strategic planning it will take to fully tap into that potential. To do so, Congress and the administration must take action to help U.S. companies compete in African markets.

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Last year, the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Business Center released policy recommendations outlining what’s needed to drive American exports to Africa. The recommendations urge the U.S. to seek new free trade agreements and modernize current customs practices. Our recommendations also call on Africa to listen to concerns about the ease of doing business on the continent. The U.S. Chamber knows expanding economic opportunity does not happen overnight. However, we also know that through active engagement with African leaders, U.S. companies will be better positioned to compete around the world and create new jobs in our country.

Africa boasts one of the fastest growing middle class populations in the world, an enhanced role in shaping global peace and security, a young and entrepreneurial population, and promising economic growth trajectories. In fact, a recent report conducted by global consulting firm McKinsey outlined opportunities for businesses in Africa that are worth an estimated $5.6 trillion between now and 2025. It’s no surprise that American companies are expanding their operations and integrating Africa into their global supply chains.

The U.S. Chamber, our federation of more than 3 million companies of every size and sector, and the Chamber’s Center for International Enterprise, have doubled down on our recommendations and efforts to expand traditional trade relationships with the diverse markets of the African continent. Our competitors from around the world are jostling for advantage in African markets, and we certainly cannot sit on the sidelines. 

The U.S. private sector is committed to Africa, and the U.S.-Africa Business Center is proud to make that commitment our mission. Whether U.S. firms are exporters to the continent, source goods and services from Africa, or invest in its burgeoning markets, we aren’t going anywhere. We are in this relationship for the long haul. 

The business communities of Africa and the United States believe we can change the world with new ideas, technology, capital, and hard work. Africa’s business community has so much to share with the world, and we can all learn from their ingenuity, perseverance, and compassion. We are proud to be their partners in building a more prosperous future for both the United States and Africa.

Myron Brilliant is executive vice president and head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.