a BUSY few monthsDecember 15, 2022
Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the ANCDecember 19, 2022
The US Africa Leaders Summit Concluded on a high note in Washington DC today.
The Summit and the US Africa business forum brought together African heads of state and U.S. and African business and government leaders to advance mutually beneficial partnerships that create jobs and drive inclusive and sustainable growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
The following key outcomes were adopted by the Summit.
1) Charting the Course: The Future of U.S.-Africa Trade & Investment Relations
Africa’s importance to global trade and investment will dramatically increase as its young population is set to double by 2050 to 2.5 billion people, representing more than a quarter of the world’s population, with a business and consumer market of $16 trillion. Africa is in the process of becoming the world’s largest single market via the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as a number of countries have enacted reforms to improve business environments and attract private investment. These reforms and harmonization under AfCFTA will make African companies increasingly competitive and promote their integration into global supply chains. African countries are targeting efforts to develop key industries that play to U.S. strengths, including automotive, pharmaceuticals, energy, and ICT, including strategies to attract investments in critical infrastructure. Despite the tremendous opportunities emerging, U.S. trade and investment in Africa
African countries are developing strategies to reconcile the need to expand access to electricity for 600 million citizens – half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population – in the immediate term with the priority of building a sustainable energy system based on clean energy for the long term to cope with the increasing impacts of climate change. These strategies envision financing both the long-term transition away from fossil fuels, which represent 46 percent of the continent’s current energy mix, and expanding access to electricity, while also supporting the growing role Africa will play in international energy security as a source of the fuels of today and tomorrow, including the minerals needed for a greener economy. Amidst the overlapping crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global energy shortage caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine that has eroded two decades of positive gains, the need for innovative private-sector-driven solutions is urgent. This session built upon outcomes from COP27 and G20 discussions, as well as lessons learned from existing partnerships between the United States and Africa, such as the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). It highlighted strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities to develop and adopt new technologies and put in place the right regulatory and investment regimes that will attract the investment needed and better integrate African energy markets trans-continentally and globally.
3) Growing Agribusiness: Partnerships to Strengthen Food Security and Value Chain
In sub-Saharan Africa, the agriculture sector provides employment to two-thirds of the region’s population and is responsible for 14% of GDP. The industry has the potential to drive broad-based economic growth, as women and youth comprise the majority of workers, and agribusiness is forecast to be worth more than $1 trillion by 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the highest rate of agricultural growth compared to other regions, at 4.3% per year since 2000. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have resulted in supply chain disruptions, reductions in income for farmers and consumers, and food price inflation across the world, with an, exacerbated effect in African countries that depend on food imports to supplement domestic supply. Despite the challenges affecting the agricultural sector (such as access to finance, input price volatility, storage availability, and market connectivity) African governments and businesses are adapting to macroeconomic shocks and employing solutions to continue building the sector as a foundation for economic growth and source of greater food security. This session highlighted how partnerships between the public and private sectors can unlock the potential of agribusiness in Africa with increased productivity, strengthened value chains, and better integration into global supply chains.
4) Advancing Digital Connectivity: Partnerships to Enable Inclusive Growth Through Technology
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Africa has the fastest-growing population of internet users worldwide and is a pioneer of dynamic ICT innovations. Favorable youth demographics, rapid urbanization, and increased consumer spending are driving higher mobile adoption, despite countries needing an estimated $10 billion per year in investment to expand network access and global backbone connections. The African digital ecosystem presents a unique and urgent opportunity to accelerate African growth while expanding opportunities for U.S. companies and the application of U.S. expertise. Accelerating the expansion of digital connectivity, access, partnership, and innovation can catalyze economic growth and support the continent to overcome myriad challenges while providing opportunities for governments to enhance inclusions, transparency, anti-corruption, and good governance by leveraging e-government services. This session discussed opportunities and challenges for the U.S. and Africa to better collaborate to strengthen Africa’s dynamic digital economy, expand internet infrastructure, and advance inclusive, secure, and sustainable connectivity. This session also discussed how to improve digital skills and literacy, including MSMEs, and foster an enabling environment that maximizes the potential of the African Union’s Digital Transformational Strategy to create an inclusive, secure digital market in Africa by 2030 with digital trade, digital identity, and digital economy.