US sets eyes on Africa

Photo by: Emil Norden / CC BY-NC-SA

There’s more to Africa than just war, famine and drought, and the United States is quick to see this as it boosts investments in the region.

At the “Opportunity: Africa” conference, held in Wilmington, Del., the heads of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Corp. spoke of their latest work in the fast-emerging region.

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said the agency launched a major effort to move 30 percent of its funding this year to the private sector, entrepreneurs and local civil society organizations in Africa. MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes, meanwhile, said the agency is investing in roads, airports and ports in Africa to expand trade and commerce in the region. He said MCC is constructing a new terminal at the Bamako Airport in Mali and rehabilitating major roads in Tanzania. The agency also helped improve the management, security and cargo capacity of the Port of Cotonou in Benin.

The United States has also pledged additional funding for Liberia at the official opening of the new U.S. embassy at Mamba Point.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States will spend more than $75 million to assist Liberia’s private sector.

The United States is Africa’s second-largest trading partner after China. Shah said in 2010, foreign direct investment in Africa was more than $55 billion. The Economist, according to Yohannes, predicts the average African economy will “outpace” its Asian counterpart over the next five years.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.