Statement by Ambassador Katherine Tai on the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for Trade and Investment Between the United States and the African Continental Free Trade Area

December 14, 2022

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today released the following statement after signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for Trade and Investment between the United States and the African Continental Free Trade Area with Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. 

“The future is Africa – for the United States and the global economy.

“In terms of size and population, Africa's significance is undeniable.  Its young population is set to double by 2050 to 2.5 billion people, and the continent is becoming an increasingly important economic partner to the United States. Africa continues to increase its competitiveness and integration into global supply chains through improved national-level business climates.  It's also undergoing rapid digitization and urbanization and is brimming with entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.

“Under the Biden Administration's vision, we are recasting traditional U.S. policy priorities – such as democracy and governance; peace and security; and sustainable trade and investment – as avenues to strengthen U.S.-African cooperation in addressing shared global challenges. The AfCFTA is critical to these efforts.  It will help drive inclusive, sustainable development, as well as stronger continental integration – which are important priorities that we share with AfCFTA economies.

“In short, the Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that it is impossible to meet today's defining challenges on trade without African contributions and leadership, and our support of the AfCFTA is part and parcel of this. This MOU is the product of a year of hard work and negotiations to memorialize this importance with which we regard the AfCFTA.   It stems from a mutual desire to develop a lasting partnership between the United States Government and the AfCFTA Secretariat.

“But our work together will be an inclusive undertaking, requiring active participation from AU member states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), diaspora, SMEs, women owned businesses, young entrepreneurs, workers, and civil society groups.  

“We signed this MOU to create a platform for a regular dialogue with the AfCFTA Secretariat and other stakeholders to address matters of mutual interest about the negotiation and implementation of the AfCFTA.

I congratulate all of the African stakeholders who have been instrumental in the AfCFTA work to date, including all of the African Heads of State that attended the Africa Leaders’ Summit, leadership of the African Regional Economic Communities, and AfCFTA Secretary General Mene.”