Pretoria — 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 African continent.
The trip, according to the US Embassy, will advance the elements of President Barack Obama's "Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa", that will promote economic growth, trade, and investment in the continent.
Blank, as part of her trip, will launch the campaign that will 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. 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," said Blank.
Obama launched the strategy in June under four objectives namely, strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development.
On her trip to South Africa, Blank will meet with the Department of Commerce's Under Secretary for International Trade, Francisco Sanchez. A delegation comprised of representatives from 15 US firms will join Sanchez on stops in Lusaka, Zambia; and Johannesburg and Cape Town.
In Kenya, she 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, and in the first half of 2012, US goods exports to Sub-Saharan Africa are up 4.6% over the same period in 2011.