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Ambassador Michael Froman Concludes First Visit to Africa as U.S. Trade Representative

July 02, 2013

Travel with President, Additional Meetings Highlight Obama Administration’s Commitment to Enhance Trade and Investment with the Continent

Washington, D.C. - Today, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman returned from a four-day visit to Sub-Saharan Africa, where he joined President Obama for the final two of a three-nation trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. Throughout the trip, President Obama highlighted the importance of strengthening U.S.-Africa trade and investment, and in Senegal focused on Africa's significant potential in using new technologies to increase agricultural productivity and trade, and meet food security needs. In addition to the President’s bilateral program in South Africa and Tanzania, Ambassador Froman engaged with high-level government officials and with members of the private sector to advance trade and investment liberalization objectives that can spur economic growth in the region and support jobs and prosperity in Africa and the United States. Ambassador Froman outlined these objectives in a speech delivered last week at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

In his first official travel as USTR, Ambassador Froman’s engagement with officials and business leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa highlights the Administration's commitment to enhance U.S. economic engagement with the continent to the benefit of both American and African businesses, exporters and workers.

In Pretoria, South Africa, Ambassador Froman joined President Obama in a bilateral meeting with President Jacob Zuma, where they discussed a range of U.S.-South Africa bilateral issues, including trade. During a separate bilateral meeting, Ambassador Froman and African Union Chairwoman Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma discussed U.S.-Africa trade, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), regional economic integration and the infrastructure needed to support African trade and global competitiveness. Ambassador Froman noted that power and energy are threshold issues for Africa's economic growth and that there is an increasing private sector interest in investing in this sector in Africa. Ambassador Froman also held separate meetings with Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel and Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. They discussed a range of issues including the importance of trade (particularly AGOA trade), industrialization, value-added exports, and private sector investment for the economic growth of South Africa as well as other African nations. Other topics of discussion included ways to cooperate in World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations and on various G20 initiatives. Ambassador Froman expressed the United States’ interest in working with South Africa to enhance U.S-South Africa trade and investment to benefit both countries, and potential changes to AGOA to enhance our trade relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, he met with private sector leaders in the finance community in Johannesburg to discuss ways to mobilize more capital for growth in Africa and with U.S. business leaders in Cape Town to discuss the business environment in South Africa and throughout the continent.

Ambassador Froman then traveled with the delegation to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he joined President Obama for bilateral meetings with President Jakaya Kikwete and key Tanzanian officials. He joined President Obama in facilitating a roundtable with U.S. and African CEOs, during which they discussed business opportunities in Africa, investment and ways that the private sector can contribute to and benefit from Africa's rise. Later, he joined business leaders for a major speech by the President at a Business Forum on how trade and investment fits into the United States’ overall development agenda. He also joined the President at the Ubongo power plant where the focus was on the new Power Africa initiative and the President delivered remarks. Ambassador Froman also met with African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka and Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) Richard Sezibera. These discussions covered cooperation on two new initiatives announced by President Obama - Power Africa and Trade Africa - which aim to increase electricity generation, and to promote EAC regional and global trade and investment.

In 2012, total two-way trade between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa was valued at $72.3 billion. U.S. goods exports to Sub-Saharan Africa were up $1.5 billion, or 7.1 percent, from 2011, and up 277 percent from 2002. African exports to the U.S. totaled $49.7 billion in 2012, and non-oil exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have more than tripled since enactment of AGOA in 2001.