Arab Today, arab today usafrica summit washington playing catchup in business
Last Updated : GMT 21:32:47
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

US-Africa summit: Washington playing catch-up in business

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today US-Africa summit: Washington playing catch-up in business

Distributed in the Kenyan capital
Washington - AFP

Washington aims to wake up US business to the opportunities in Africa with the landmark US-Africa Leaders Summit this week, as China and Europe steal a march in the world's fastest-growing continent.
As many as four dozen African leaders, and hundreds of businessmen with them, will for their part be looking to see if US investors and traders can move beyond old stereotypes of a continent mired in conflict and corruption and recognize its huge potential.
It will be the first time ever the United States has hosted a gathering of African heads of state, and it follows similar efforts by China, Europe and Japan -- all eyeing Africa's natural wealth and a market of some 350 million middle-class Africans.
"They aren't looking for handouts, but they want US companies to come and get involved," said Amadou Sy, a Senegalese expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "The goal is to say the US has a strategy toward Africa."
Charlotte Florance of the Heritage Foundation acknowledged the United States was late in the game.
Even so, "the pie is certainly growing, and I think there is still plenty of space for US investors and exporters," she added.
President Barack Obama, who has taken more than five years in office before hosting the summit, clearly wants US businesses to recognize that Africa is beginning to take off.
"I think America can be central in moving Africa into the next stage of growth and integrating it into the world economy in a way in which it's benefiting the people of Africa and it's not just a source of natural resources," he told The Economist.
Top US business chiefs, including the heads of Coca-Cola, IBM and General Electric, will take part in key sessions with the visitors.
The question though is whether African leaders and businessmen will see American businesses as truly interested in more than Africa's oil, which has heavily dominated economic relations.
They also need to see if Washington will compete with China's cold mercantile approach, and the more aggressive wooing by Europeans with longstanding ties to the continent.
But Washington is still moving too slowly, say critics, and US businesses, except for the very largest companies, remain underinformed and too hesitant to mount a powerful challenge.
"We're behind companies from China and elsewhere. We need to play catch-up here," said former diplomat Witney Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
- US businesses blind to potential -
The big problem for American business, said Schneidman, is that they don't know Africa -- what is happening politically, what is the business environment, who could be the local partners.
"Most Americans cannot answer those questions. In Europe, they can answer those questions. Asia, they can pretty much answer those questions," she said.
"Our lack of knowledge about the continent is a real inhibition to our ability to move forward."
The centerpiece of US efforts is the 14-year African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade agreement that supports exports from 39 sub-Saharan countries.
But even the US trade representative, the top foreign trade official, says it has not achieved much outside boosting oil exports from a handful of countries.
Moreover, it must be renewed every five years, and Africans complain it holds them to near-impossible standards of governance.
The summit will include a full day of discussions on AGOA, on Monday. But critics say AGOA needs expanding or replacement with something more like the free trade pact deals the Europeans are striking with African regions.
"That raises the prospect that here we are extending AGOA, a non-reciprocal program, while the EU is putting a reciprocal program that works to the detriment of US interests," said Schneidman.
With little political support for a broader AGOA shakeup, the Obama administration has pressed more recent initiatives that businessmen say do hit the right notes: Power Africa and Trade Africa, under the US Agency for International Development, work to bring together businesses, finance and officials on both sides for deals.  
Power Africa aims to get US businesses involved in Africa's highest priority for development, expanding electricity generation.
"Obama got the agenda right," said Stephen Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa, a Washington business grouping.
"The goals may be modest, but he got the right goals. Power should be one of the highest priorities in African development."
Florance says that by coming here, Africa's presidents and prime ministers are saying that their door is still open to Americans, whatever the push from China and Europe.
"African governments... want options now," she said.

 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today usafrica summit washington playing catchup in business Arab Today, arab today usafrica summit washington playing catchup in business

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today 11 family members dead in rebel push

GMT 07:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

11 family members dead in rebel push
Arab Today, arab today To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

To probe sexual harassment claims
View News in Arabic - Business: اقتصاد دولي
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today 57 monkeys carrying 'invasive' genes

GMT 16:00 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

57 monkeys carrying 'invasive' genes
Arab Today, arab today 63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby
Arab Today, arab today Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing

GMT 06:34 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 12:22 2017 Monday ,20 February

Kanye West puts hijab-wearing model

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 14:51 2017 Monday ,20 February

Ways to acquire presentation skills

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 16:08 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Shawsh reveals her collection "Jewelry of dreams"
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday