AFRICA IS READY FOR BUSINESS – BRIDGING THE PERCEPTION GAP

It is my pleasure to remind you my friends, Americans, Small and Large Businesses, that Africa is ready for business. Africa, composed of 54 countries is larger than what we have always envisaged. The map, done by Kai Krause shows how Africa is larger than the combination of China, the US, Western, India, Argentina, three Scandinavian countries and the British Isles. However, this has not been apparent due to the existence of a perception gap. It is my hope to try and bridge the gap.

Bridge Perception Gap: Africa is ready for business. It is their time and the faster US businesses realize that the better for them, and for Africa too. ICT is playing a crucial role, use of the Internet, social media, videoconference, remote access.  Not only is it very affordable to talk or hold a conference call with anyone in the world from any part of Kenya. I can access my servers here in DC from Muranga surrounded by extremely beautiful flora and fauna, cows, goats, while listening to my almost a 100 years old grandfather’s – Karenge – stories.

Globalization: You need to understand that Globalization and technological innovations are processes that have created a new global change. This will be a change powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. This is also happening in Africa.

Communication and Information: I can facilitate communication, especially between the US and African private sector and public sector, providing factual information and solutions to alleviate some of the communication issues..

Strategic Plans: We need to know that countries like Kenya have produced very strategic documents like Vision 2030, which clearly outlines the investment opportunities and goals for countries like the US in Kenya.

Trade initiatives: along with provisions to encourage regional integration, expand the number of products granted duty-free access, eliminate quota restrictions, and require gradual reciprocal duty-free treatment for American exports with the objective of negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Africa by 2025. Renewal of AGOA will not realize the full potential for trade-led economic growth, increased investment, and broad-based economic development as long as it remains limited to a trade-preference arrangement.  To gain full advantage of the opportunity for mutually beneficial trade and investment, the Obama Administration and Congress should work together to renew AGOA along with provisions to encourage regional integration.