The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: U.S. Pledges More Support to EAC Integration

United States will continue working closely with East African countries to strengthen and promote the bilateral trade, democracy, regional peace and security as well as identifying opportunities for Africa on US market.

The commitment was made by the acting U.S secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, while addressing a commerce dialogue in Nairobi.

She said that the Obama administration established and implemented the U.S strategy Towards Sub-Sahara Africa, an initiative that is aimed at fortifying the economic development in the region.

"Through the Strategy, we will continue to support democratic institutions, to promote regional peace and security, to expand opportunity and development, and of particular importance to my Department, to spur economic growth, trade and investment," said Blank in a statement from the regional body.

She said that one of the most exciting examples of this is the Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the EAC through which the United States seeks to support EAC's promising and vital work towards regional integration.

Under the trade and investment partnership with EAC, the two parties are expected to work together to provide new business opportunities to US and EAC firms by reducing trade barriers, improving the business environment, encouraging open investment regimes and enhancing our two-way trade.

Sub-Saharan Africa presents enormous opportunities to the American private sector. According to the World Bank, its GDP totalled approximately $1.25 trillion in 2011, and six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. total merchandise exports to Sub-Saharan Africa tripled in 2001

The objectives of the cooperations focuses on democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development.

In 2011, 40 AGOA countries exported $53.7 billion in products to the United States contributing to economic growth for African nations as well as creating new opportunities for American businesses to export U.S. goods and services.

Rwanda exported products worth USD 9.8m to the US under the AGOA arrangement, in the same year.

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