By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Cape Town – The Africa Rising narrative has just received a big boost. This was after news on Tuesday, that the Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018, an inaugural event that brings together global business leaders, change agents and innovators driving digital acceleration, sustainable agriculture, global trade and women empowerment on the continent of Africa.
The aim of the event is to ignite a fresh dialogue that educates and showcases effective strategies for increasing trade between the US and African countries.
This event also positions the state of Arkansas as a favourable destination for African business and political leaders looking to create partnerships with the US.
In 2000, the United States established the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to support US trade with Africa.
Although some level of success has been accomplished, the US still engages at less than 2 percent of total global trade with Sub-Saharan Africa.
On the US side there are several constraints including lack of awareness, supporting business data, and misconception and information gap.
On the African side there is lack of information related to available business partnerships and opportunities for African businesses as well as education on ways to secure investments needed to build the level of capacity required to meet US standards.
The Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018 would provide an effective platform to strengthen linkages by bringing together African and US business and political leaders and their supporting service providers.
Bentonville, Arkansas is the home of Walmart, the world’s leading retailer, and is a thriving trade and economic hub and hence the perfect location to establish new trade opportunities.
According to the convener of this event, Toyin Umesiri, CEO Nazaru LLC: “The timing is right for US businesses to develop an effective strategy towards Africa. By 2050 Africa is projected to have a quarter of the world’s population and currently has some of the fastest growing economies with GDP growth rate of 5 percent or more.”
Confirmed speakers include Donnie Smith, Former CEO, Tyson Foods; Denise Thomas, Director of Africa Trade Relations, World Trade Center; Scott Ford, CEO Westrock Coffee; Dale Dawson, Founder Bridge to Rwanda; Salim Amin, Chairman Camerapix Kenya; Finn Holm-Olsen, Trade Promotion & AGOA, USAID East Africa Trade Hub; Chris Folayan, CEO Mall for Africa.