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U.S.-Africa Business Forum Will Be Part of Obama Leaders Summit
May 22, 2014

President Obama speaking at podium in front of Africa map
President Obama spoke at a business forum aimed at increasing investment in Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in July 2013.

21 May 2014

On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, focusing on trade and investment opportunities on the continent.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the forum while speaking to group of business leaders in Lagos, Nigeria, May 21.

Pritzker and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will host the forum, and President Obama will be the keynote speaker, according to a May 21 Commerce Department news release.

The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will be part of Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first summit of its kind and the largest event that any U.S. president ever has convened with African heads of state or government, the Commerce Department said.

The daylong forum, to be held in Washington, will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. It will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in finance and capital investment, infrastructure, power and energy, agriculture, consumer goods and information communication technology. It will bring together heads of state and business executives from both sides of the Atlantic for conversations about successes and solutions to build greater access for trade and investment in Africa.

President Obama will also participate in conversations with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.

As the president said in Tanzania in 2013, “In our global economy, our fortunes are linked like never before. So more growth and opportunity in Africa can mean more growth and opportunity in the United States. And this is not charity; this is self-interest. And that’s why a key element of my engagement with Africa … has been to promote trade and investment that can create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“The opportunities for the United States and Africa to work together to achieve mutual prosperity for our countries and our people are growing,” Pritzker said in the news release. “Africa is home to seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, the middle class across the continent is expanding, and there is great potential for U.S. firms to sell their goods and services, and leverage their expertise, to help African countries meet their development goals.”

Pritzker said her department is working with American companies to help ensure they have the tools they need to do business in Africa, and the forum “will be yet another mechanism for cooperation between the U.S. government and private sector, and our counterparts in Africa.”

Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said: “At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we share the [Obama] administration’s deep commitment to the continent. There is great optimism for what lies ahead as Africa will play an increasingly central role in global affairs and international commerce.

“Vibrant, transparent business communities that are wired into the global economic conversation are essential for the future of Africa,” Bloomberg said. “This forum and summit builds on this dedication to the future of Africa and will go far in building a better and more secure economic and political future for the continent.”

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will convene leaders from more than 45 sub-Saharan and North African nations to discuss regional economic, political and development issues, aiming to forge deeper trans-Atlantic ties as well as explore comprehensive, collaborative ways to unlock economic growth and opportunity.