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 Home > News & Policies > July 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 19, 2005

African Global Competitiveness Initiative

"I think one of the things that many African nations have come to discover is that through trade, they can develop a more hopeful society rather than through aid. ... When you open up your market to entrepreneurs and small businesses, it helps spread wealth. And that's, after all, what we're trying to achieve."

-- President George W. Bush
June 7, 2005


President Bush has announced the African Global Competitiveness Initiative with a five-year funding target of $200 million of additional resources. This new initiative greatly expands the trade capacity building efforts underway with African nations through the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Regional Trade Hubs located in Accra, Ghana; Gaborone, Botswana; and Nairobi, Kenya. The Initiative will further the work of the Trade Hubs in enabling African economies to become better integrated into regional and global markets and to take advantage of trade opportunities afforded by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

As part of the new African Global Competitiveness Initiative, USAID will open a fourth trade hub. The new hub will complement the efforts of the USAID trade hubs in Botswana, Ghana, and Kenya.

The Global Competitiveness Initiative will emphasize trade capacity building in the following areas:

  • Improve the climate for private investment in Africa;
  • Expand AGOA trade and intra-African trade;
  • Strengthen the emphasis on information and communications technology in facilitating investment and trade-related efforts in Africa;
  • Stimulate private sector development;
  • Encourage and promote the diversification of exports;
  • Reduce time to market and transport costs by facilitating trade at borders and along transport corridors;
  • Strengthen the financial sector;
  • Facilitate investment in infrastructure and address general barriers to competitiveness; and
  • Improve the capacity of African countries to meet international quality standards and U.S. animal and plant health inspection requirements.

Improving African Competitiveness:

Open trade and international investment are some of the surest and fastest ways for Africa to make economic progress. With the rebounding of the global economy and recovery from several lengthy conflicts, much of Africa is poised to see more robust economic growth and an improvement in living standards in the years ahead.

AGOA is the cornerstone of the Administration's trade and investment policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA's objectives include promoting free markets, expanding U.S.-African trade and investment, stimulating economic growth, and facilitating regional integration and Sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy.

To continue to realize the potential benefits of AGOA, eligible Sub-Saharan African countries need to diversify greatly their export base, develop intra-regional trade linkages, and enhance their external competitiveness. The U.S. views trade capacity building and technical assistance programs as essential components of its trade and investment policy.

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