Acting US Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank will be in South Africa and Kenya next week to launch a business in Africa campaign that will help American businesses identify opportunities on the continent.
The trip, according to the US Embassy in South Africa, will advance elements of President Barack Obama's "Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa", launched in June, which aims to promote economic growth, trade and investment in the continent.
Blank, as part of her trip, will launch a campaign to help American businesses identify and seize opportunities that will further the country's commercial, trade, and investment relationship with Africa.
"As President Obama has said, Africa is a region of growing opportunity and promise, and it has the potential to be the world's next major economic success story," Blank said in a statement this week.
"As part of our efforts under the National Export Initiative to support US companies in selling their goods and services to the world, we must do everything possible to ensure we are promoting trade and investment with Africa."
On her trip to South Africa, Blank will meet with the Department of Commerce's under secretary for international trade, Francisco Sanchez. A delegation made up of representatives from 15 US firms will join Sanchez on stops in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as in Lusaka in Zambia.
In Kenya, Blank will meet with heads of state and senior trade officials of the East African community, a regional intergovernmental organisation that includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
In 2011, US exports to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $21.3-billion, while imports were $74.3-billion, an increase from $17.1-billion and $65-billion in 2010, respectively.
Total trade between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 16% between 2010 and 2011, while US goods exports to Sub-Saharan Africa were up 4.6% in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.