News / Economy

African Business Leaders Want More US Investments

African business leaders say the United States can do more to encourage investment on the continent. The Obama administration agrees. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to close a meeting in Zambia on U.S. trade preferences.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act has been the cornerstone of U.S. investment on the continent for more than ten years. But the vast majority of goods imported duty free are textile and oil products.

African producers meeting in Zambia want to diversify those exports and say the U.S. government can do more to help.

Chungu Mwila, the director for private sector development at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, says the trade preferences known as AGOA would be more valuable with more direct U.S. investment.

“If American companies were to invest in Africa and boost our production capacities, then, in our view, AGOA would become more meaningful,” said Mwila.

With most U.S. direct foreign investment still going to Latin America and Asia, Mwila says the Obama administration should do more to bring American business to Africa.

“I think there is a lot more that the U.S., being the strongest economy in the world, can do by assisting in capacity building of our industries, by ensuring that some of the American companies come and look around. After all, Africa is no longer such a risk place,” said Mwila.

The Obama administration agrees and is asking Congress to extend AGOA trade preferences for another ten years. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says there should be greater tax incentives for U.S. earnings from AGOA investments.

“AGOA already provides substantial tariff savings for U.S. companies importing eligible products from Africa, but there are no other types of tax incentives provided under the legislation," he said. "We recommend that the U.S. government support an effort to eliminate the U.S. tax on repatriated revenues from American companies that invest in factories in Africa that produce AGOA-eligible products.”

Carson says he is encouraged by Africa's progress, but the continent remains economically challenged and continues to need programs such as AGOA to provide incentives for greater growth.

“While AGOA has achieved a certain amount of success, it has not solved Africa's economic, financial, and commercial challenges, and the region has not experienced the fundamental economic transformation that we seek for Africa as a whole," he said. "Africa continues to struggle to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

Carson says the Obama administration wants U.S. lawmakers to extend beyond next year a provision allowing AGOA-eligible nations to source raw textile materials from third countries.

Mwila says that extension, and the renewal of AGOA as a whole, will bring more business to a continent that is making itself more attractive to investors.

“We have very liberal economic regimes," said Mwila. "Our macro-economic fundamentals are being put in place. For example, the inflation rates have come down. The exchange rates are stabilizing. And the economic growth rate is one of the highest globally, around five or six percent. You don't even get that in the U.S.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helps close this AGOA forum Friday before meeting with Zambian President Rupiah Banda.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9012
JPY
USD
122.90
GBP
USD
0.6400
CAD
USD
1.2582
INR
USD
63.438

Rates may not be current.