US forum explores ways to boost Africa’s infrastructure for trade

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the opening remarks at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum in Washington, D.C. Photo by: U.S. Department of State

U.S. and African government and civil society officials are currently in Washington to discuss ways to enhance sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure and improve the region’s trade competitiveness.

The officials are convening June 14-15 for the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, the 12th meeting of its kind held in line with the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA.

The forum is the premier high-level event between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries designed to advance trade and economic policy goals. This year’s theme is on developing sub-Saharan Africa’s national and regional infrastructure.

In her remarks at the forum, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified the different kinds of infrastructure she said sub-Saharan Africa needs to develop to boost its trade sector: physical, regulatory, energy and human.

The secretary further identified ways the United States is supporting, or plans to support, sub-Saharan Africa in these areas. These include a U.S.-Africa Business Conference on June 21-20 in Ohio, where the U.S. government aims to match local and African firms working in transportation, energy, water and sanitation.

On human infrastructure, Clinton announced a new partnership between the State department’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, ExxonMobil Foundation and nongovernmental organization Vital Voices Global Partnership to provide business and digital literacy training to women in Africa.

The secretary also announced that the United States is taking the lessons learned from 11 years of engagement with Africa through AGOA to inform its economic engagement with other countries. Some 250 events in 130 countries were held June 14 for the first-ever Global Economic Statecraft Day, Clinton explained.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.