Obama in Africa
President Obama in Tanzania. Photo retrieved from Reuters (Gary Cameron)
In the last stop of President Obama’s weeklong visit to Africa, the President shared his vision for a new partnership with Africa. “We are looking at a new model that’s based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership,” he said.
In Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, the President stated, “Ultimately, the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans,” Obama said. “And our job is to be a partner in that process.”
Among the President’s goals during his June 2013 trip to Africa are to increase trade and investment and create economic opportunities between the U.S. and the continent. His visit comes at a time when US businesses are recognizing the expanding opportunities on the rise in Africa.
Among President Obama’s goals during his June 2013 trip to Africa are to increase trade and investment and create economic opportunities between the U.S. and the continent. His visit comes at a time when US businesses are recognizing the expanding opportunities on the rise in Africa.
Spurred not only by Africa’s rich resources but by a decade of sustained economic growth, US businesses may be awakening to the potential that China has been aware of for at least the past 12 years. China’s trade with Africa has grown from $9 billion in 2000 to $200 billion in 2012 &ndashl; this compared to $95 billion in U.S. trade last year.
While China is currently the leading foreign investor in Africa, the US still holds second place, with its businesses now looking to Africa’s growing middle class in countries beyond their traditional partners such as South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. Tanzania’s middle earners are on the rise, and U.S. businesses are looking at this east African country with new interest.
According to Standard Bank, the middle class of 60 million Africans earning $3,000 per year will blossom to 100 million Africans by 2015.
All these increases are building confidence among investors. The multinational electric corporation General Electric (GE) endorsed a contract in Tanzania to construct a 400-megawatt gas-fired power plant. Beverage company Coca-Cola and gas and oil company Exxon Mobil have been longtime investors in Africa and continue to invest in the continent. As for car businesses, General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Company plan to increase their car sales throughout Africa. Ford specifically plans to make cars that are more appealing to African consumers, while GM has recently approved pickup trucks made by Isuzu Motors in Japan to sell in sub-Saharan Africa.
In order to increase and encourage more trade in Africa, the U.S. has organized campaigns as well as trade missions to African countries. Toward the end of 2012, the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sánchez, and Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank launched the “Doing Business in Africa” (DBIA) campaign in South Africa. Along with other upcoming trade efforts, the DBIA campaign will help increase U.S. business in the African market and help Africa in becoming the next economic success story – and the impact of President Obama’s summer visit to Africa is left to be seen.
Here are just some of the U.S. businesses investing in Africa:
- General Electric – Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa
- Coca-Cola – Botswana, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Exxon Mobil – Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Ford Motor Company – Algeria, Egypt, Liberia, Tunisia
- Chevron Corp – South Africa, Chad-Cameroon, Angola, Liberia
- Walmart Stores Inc – South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria
- Yum! Brands Inc – South Africa, Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe
- Honeywell International Inc – South Africa, Angola, Nigeria
- Caterpillar Inc – South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia
- Harley Davidson Inc – Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Mauritius
- Google Inc – Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda
- Archer Daniels Midland Co – Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana
- Cummins Inc – leader in power generators in Africa